Evenings are getting brighter! Here are the dates to keep in mind.
The shortest day of the year is a week away, but evenings are already getting brighter. Here are the dates to keep in mind if you're looking forward to a bright evening commute.
The first two weeks of December are the darkest evenings of the year in New York City. The sunset at 4:28 p.m. is completely dark for the evening rush home. Civil twilight is the time of before and after sunset when it's still bright enough to see without artificial light. Civil twilight ends about a half hour after the sun sets so by 5 p.m., it's nearly nighttime. Although the shortest day of the year for daylight is on the Winter Solstice (Dec. 21), the evenings are getting brighter.
Dates to keep in mind
The sunset time changes gradually over the next two weeks. The sunset at the end of the month is nice minutes later than the start. Noticeable changes happen in January. The first 5 p.m. sunset of the year in the city happens on Jan. 22. Civil twilight on this day ends at 5:30 p.m. which means it'll still be light enough to see outside for the first half of the 5 o'clock hour on a clear day.
The first 5:30 p.m. sunset of the year is still two months away on Feb. 15 - but it's worth the wait. At this point, we'll gain an hour of daylight to our evenings.
Daylight Saving Time begins on March 10. Although we'll lose an hour of sleep when the clocks push forward, we'll gain an hour of light in our evenings. The first 7 p.m. sunsets of the year happen in mid-March.
The latest sunset of the year in Central Park happens in late June. Sunset time right after the Summer Solstice is at 8:31 p.m., which gives us four more hours of light to the evenings than we experience this time of the year.
Fun Sun Facts
The sunset time changes depending on where you are in the world and even in the Tri-State there are some surprising differences in sunset time. In our part of the world, the sunset happens about a half hour earlier for every 400 miles east. On the tip of Long Island at Montauk point, the sunset is about nine minutes earlier than it is in the city. It's the earliest sunset time in the state!
If you prefer to watch later sunsets you can head west, or just head up! The sunset time on the top of the World Trade Center is about 15 seconds later than it is on the bottom. So, in theory you could watch the sun set twice - but the elevator would have to move up three times faster than it does now.