Saturday, January 03, 2009

too rosy a picture?

Sunrise over New York City [photo taken from New Jersey].

On December 31. I rejoiced in the fact that sunset was occurring later every day. On that day, I noted, the sun set seven minutes later than it did on the day of the Winter solstice, December 21. Seven minutes more daylight!

Now a plaintive note has come in from Jack Meyer, a year-round, daily Central Park birdwatcher, whose walks generally begin at 7:00 a.m.

I think you paint too rosy a picture in your blog entry titled "seven minutes longer". Sunset is getting later, and days ARE getting longer, but on Dec 21 the sun rose at 7:16, and yesterday it didn't rise until 7:20. My habits are such that I don't much care how long it STAYS light, what concerns me is how soon it GETS light. When do we early birds start to gain? Every day we must wait longer for our worms. Jack

Well, he's right. It's not so rosy from his vantage point, not YET, that is.

Here's the scoop, Jack:

Though the time of sunrise on December 21 was 7:16 a.m., the sun did not start coming up earlier and earlier from that day on. Alas, on December 22, the sun rose at 7:17, one minute later. And it got worse. On Christmas day the sun rose at 7:18. On New Year's Day, sunrise was at 7:20. And that's where it stays through January 8. Only then does the time of sunrise start getting earlier. But it still proceeds very slowly. On January 13 sunrise will be at 7:18. Not until January 18th will we have the sun rising as early as on the day of the winter solstice. Finally, on January 20th, the sun will rise at 7:15, ONE MINUTE EARLIER than it rose on solstice morning.

So take heart, Jack. Everything will be coming up roses soon. A month from today, on February 5, sunrise will be at 7:01. On March 5, it will happen at 6:23. And on April 5 the sun will rise at 6:32. WHAT? Nine minutes later? Not really. We will be in Daylight Savings Time by then. And the spring migrants will be arriving.

Tomorrow: Blakeman on Pale Male's chances in 2009

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Seven minutes more

Central Park, December 25, 2008
Photo courtesy of

Sunset on December 21, the shortest day of the year, was at 4:32pm
Tomorrow the sun will set at 4:39 p.m.

It's happening!

Happy New Year!