Earliest sunsets of the year are here

Top Headlines
Sunset photo by Meteorologist Dr. Athena Masson

San Angelo, TX (KLST/KSAN) – Chilly temperatures have been working their way through the United States and the state of Texas the past few weeks.

Most of us are leaving work right as the sun begins to dip behind the horizon and many believe that it is later than it actually is thanks to the sun setting earlier and earlier.

Winter officially begins on December 21 with the winter solstice. This marks the shortest day and longest night of the year. Even though the solstice marks the shortest day, it does not mark the earliest sunset or latest sunrise. This usually occurs about two weeks before and after the solstice.

The winter solstice, earliest sunset, and latest sunrise, do not match up because the Earth is tilted on an axis and does not revolve around the sun in a perfect circle.

Our clock is also 24-hours from noon to noon. This is different from “solar noon,” which is when the sun is at the highest point in the sky. Because noon on the clock does not match up with the solar noon day to day, our earliest sunset, latest sunrise, and shortest day, are out of sync. 

In San Angelo, the first day of December is 10 hours, 14 minutes long. The last day of the month is 10 hours, 8 minutes, so the length of the days gets 6 minutes shorter in December 2019.

The earliest sunset for San Angelo in 2019 takes place at 5:38 pm CST. This began on November 26 and continues until December 10. However, if we want to find the “true” earliest sunset day and go by milliseconds, this occurred on December 3. The latest sunrise takes place on January 9, 2020 at 7:41 am CST.

Might as well take advantage of the early darkness and go out and view the planets tonight. Here are the times you can see each one tonight, December 6, 2019:

Planets Visible in the Sky in San Angelo This Coming Night

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Current status of COVID-19 testing in San Angelo

Where to find help: an ongoing list for the Concho Valley