(WKBN) — Meteorological summer officially ends on Friday, Sept. 1 as we transition to fall.
When one thinks of the fall season, one may think about cooler weather, the fair and football; however, one of the more underrated topics is the change in the length of the day.
Monday will feature the last 8 p.m. sunset of 2023. There will not be another 8 p.m. sunset until April 13, 2024. That is 228 days away (Apologies for the bad news, but there is no controlling the cosmos)!
Why do the days have to get shorter anyway? Well, this can all be blamed on the tilt of the Earth. The tilt of Earth is approximately 23.5°, and the hemisphere tilted toward the sun changes throughout the year.
During summer in the Northern Hemisphere, the Northern Hemisphere is tilted toward the sun. During winter in the northern, the Southern Hemisphere is tilted toward the sun, which results in warmer temperatures.
During the summer months, the sun rises higher in the sky, which causes it to be above the horizon longer. This results in longer days and shorter nights. The opposite is true during the winter when the sun is lower in the sky.
Then, there is the difference between meteorological seasons and astronomical seasons. Meteorological seasons changed based on weather conditions historically, while astronomical seasons change based on the location of the sun’s direct rays.
When the direct rays of sunshine are over the equator, this is referred to as the equinox. During this time, night and day are the same length: 12 hours. This occurs twice a year: in the spring and in the fall.
When the direct rays of sunlight reach the southernmost point in the Southern Hemisphere, this is called the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. It is also the shortest day of the year. The opposite occurs in the summer, which results in the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.
Here are a few important days coming up regarding the change in daylight:
Last 7 p.m. sunset of 2023: October 3
Last 6 p.m. sunset of 2023: November 4 (time change is later that night)
Last 5 p.m. sunset of 2023: November 20
Shortest day of the year (winter solstice): December 21 (9 hours, 12 minutes, and 48 seconds of daylight)
Get out there and enjoy the last month or so of long days!