How much extra sunshine do we get each day? We know it’s a little, but how much, and how fast does it add up. Read on!
Winter seems like the most extended darkest season, but did you know that Fall is just as dark? Yes, Winter and Fall have the same number of short dark days. The shortest day of the year is the day we transition from Fall to Winter, December 21st. However, without all the food and libations, the anticipation of holidays to come, this time of year just feels drawn out.
Our reality this time of year tied more to how we feel than what the clock says, let’s bring some hope into the equation. Do you feel like summer is ages away one day, and right around the corner the next? On December 21, the sun was at the Winter solstice, when the days up here on the 45th parallel measured less than nine hours per day. Head north of us, and the days get even shorter, head south, and they get longer. In contrast, the Summer solstice hosts the longest day of the year, on June 21st, where the sun doesn’t retire until almost 9:00 pm and the day is fifteen and a half hours long.
Fifteen hour days are still a long way off, and the journey there is not a gradual ascent. The difference in daylight between the shortest day, Dec 21, and the second shortest Dec 22, is only four seconds. If this were the daily gain throughout the ramp-up, our longest day, the summer solstice would be only 12 minutes longer than the shortest. Alternatively, the difference between the longest day and the second-longest day is also only about four seconds. Therefore, the most significant gains are halfway between the longest and shortest day of the year, known as the equinox. The equinox marks the transition from winter to spring and has the largest daily gain in daylight (3 minutes on the 45th parallel).
Only three minutes per day doesn’t seem like a lot. But consider it in a weekly context. Gaining three minutes each day adds 21 minutes of daylight each week, so every three weeks, we are gaining an extra hour of those beautiful rays shining down.
Sitting here at the beginning of February, watching the sun slowly make its way across the sky, casting light deep into the center of the house. Those long days of summer seem far away. Soon, the days' shortness will fade, and the longer days will be filled with fun in the outdoors. I take solace knowing that each day adds two minutes and forty-four seconds translating to an extra nineteen minutes per week. Those gains seem real to me, I can almost taste the dust on the trail.
For a simple guide here is an average daily, weekly, and monthly gain to get you through. Download it to your library to keep it for reference.
Dec shortest day 8h 52m adding only 4 m by end of month
Jan + 1:45 m daily, +12 m weekly, +54 m monthly
Feb + 2:45 m daily , +19 m weekly, +1h 16m monthly
Mar + 3:03 m daily, +21 m weekly, +1h 31m monthly
Apr + 2:45 m daily , +19 m weekly, +1h 16m monthly
May +1:45 m daily, +12 m weekly, +54 m monthly
June Longest day 15h 29 min loosing only 6m by end of month