Top image: Peter Gipson in Stowmarket, Suffolk, England, captured this June sunset, complete with a solar pillar. Thanks Peter! Submit your image to EarthSky here.
For people living around 40 degrees north latitude, the last sunset of the year occurs on or near June 27. And in the southern hemisphere, at 40 degrees south latitude, it’s the year last dawn that happens now. This is despite the fact that the longest day of the year (or the shortest day in the southern hemisphere) of the northern hemisphere fell on the solstice of June 20.
The last sunset of the year always comes after the summer solstice, although the exact date of the last sunset depends on your latitude. Further north ̵
Do you want to know your last sunset date? Try this personalized sunrise / sunset calendar.
The last sunset arrives after the summer solstice because the day is longer than 24 hours at this time of year.
For several weeks, around the June solstice, the day (measured by the subsequent returns of the midday sun) is approximately 1/4 minutes longer than 24 hours. Hence, the midday sun (solar noon) comes later in late June than the June solstice. Therefore, the sunrise and sunset times also come later, as the following table helps explain.
For Denver, Colorado
|Date||Sunrise||Noon (solar noon)||Sunset||Hours of daylight|
|June 20||5:32||13:01||20:31||14h 59m 15s|
|June 27||5:33||13:03||20:32||14h 57m 50s|
If the Earth’s axis were erected while our world surrounded the sun, and if, in addition, the Earth remained at the same distance from the sun throughout the year, then the time of the clock and the time of the sun would always be d ‘agreement. However, the Earth’s axis is titled 23.44 degrees out of the vertical and our distance from the sun varies by about 3 million miles (5 million km) during the year. In and around the equinoxes, the solar days are shorter of 24 hours, yet in the solstices, the solar days are longer 24 hours.
The last sunset always comes or close to June 27th in the northern and northern latitudes every year.
In the mid-northern latitudes, the next hour for solar noon a week after the summer solstice is more substantial than the change in daylight hours. Since today’s daylight hours (June 27) are almost the same as a week ago (the solstice of June 20), the time of the later clock for today’s solar noon also gives us a little later the hours of sunrise and sunset
In conclusion: why don’t the last sunsets come on the longest day (the solstice)? Simply put, it’s a discrepancy between the sun and the clock. Therefore, for the northern and northern latitudes, the last sunsets always arrive at the end of June.
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