I'm not sure if you've noticed this or not but...it starts to look like it's 7 pm outside around 4:30. It's a sad fact of life that when the temperatures start to drop and the clocks change, there sure isn't a whole lot of sunlight throughout the day. I've always felt so bad for people who go to work in the dark and then come home in the dark.

Since daylight saving time ended this November, I can't tell you how many times I've looked outside thinking it had to be after 7 and to look at a clock and realize it's 4:45. The days are getting shorter and the nights are getting longer but it won't remain that way forever. It actually won't remain that way for much longer.

Fairly soon we will start to experience longer days, even if it's an incredibly slow process.

Unsplash - Jan Huber
Unsplash - Jan Huber

When Will Days Get Longer in Iowa?

Before things get better and we experience more sunshine, things have to get worse. For the next 3 weeks, we will continuously experience days feeling shorter and shorter. It's going to get dark early and it can be a little bit depressing.

According to Time And Date, Iowa's winter solstice is at 9:27 pm on December 21st. It's so hard to imagine this but December 21 will be 6 hours and 3 minutes shorter than the solstice in June. After December 21, it's time to party! Sort of...It's an incredibly slow process but we will begin to experience more sunlight, even if we don't notice the change for a little while. Days will get longer by about 2 minutes and 7 seconds every day.

Another interesting fact is that December 21st isn't the day of the earliest sunset but it is the day we will experience the least amount of sun.

Why Isn't the Earliest Sunset On The Winter Solstice?

According to Time And Date, "This form of time, measured by the Sun’s daily movement across the sky, is called apparent solar time. It can be measured by a sundial." Time measured by the sun is different than how we measure our clocks. Depending on what month it is, a solar can be up to 22 seconds shorter or 29 seconds longer than 24 hours.

The Earth doesn't orbit in a perfect circle. It's more elliptical and when the Earth is closer to the sun, it travels slightly faster along its orbit. The Earth's spin axis is also tilted. Around a solstice, one of the earth's poles leans towards the sun. When we reach an equinox, neither pole leans towards the sun.

Our phones, clocks, and watches do not take the sun's movement into account when it comes to time. Our clocks tick and count exactly 24 hours, every day.

While you may start to feel the winter blues headed your way, at the very least, you will get to experience more sunlight faster than you might've thought!

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