Sunday, January 6, 2013

Dark of Winter

by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 2006. All rights reserved.

In the dark days that follow the winter solstice, the last of December through the middle of January, I anxiously track the growth of daylight for reassurance that the tide has indeed turned and that winter will eventually give way to the brightening of early spring.

At this latitude of approximately 45 degrees, daylight grows ever so slowly at first, just a minute more each day until the middle of January, when it starts to grow by twos and then by threes at the month's end.

What I always find curious, and faintly disturbing, is that the day does not grow evenly. The sun sets a minute later each day for the week following the solstice, but it rises the same time day after day.

How could this be? If the earth rotates at a constant speed and tilts at an angle to the sun that's roughly the same at dawn as at sunset shouldn't the amount of daylight grow evenly, the same half-minute at sunrise as at dusk?

Continued at... Dark of Winter.

Michael Hofferber
Rural Delivery
Out There
The Nature Pages
Artwork: Winter Awakening