Most people assume that the winter solstice on December 22, since it is the shortest day of the year in terms of daylight hours, also has the earliest sunset. That’s not exactly true.
In fact, here in Tokyo, the earliest sunset was yesterday, when the sun set at 4:27 pm. But today the sun will set at 4:28 pm!
Yes, as of today the afternoons will begin lasting longer, all the way past the vernal equinox, until it reaches its peak in the summer.
So good news for people tired of these incredibly early sunsets. They will be getting later and later from today onwards.
This BBC article is really a great read, with something for everybody.
I don’t usually post blog entries with just a link to an article, but this one I really recommend. It’s interesting and entertaining. And scientific to boot! And it has lots of interesting historical footnotes about measuring time.
If you have the time, take a few minutes to read it.
I get a chill just reading about this. I remember exactly where I was that day too. In the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on a ocean liner from Haifa to New York, so we couldn’t watch it on TV! But the ship sounded its whistle, and there was a party on board that night.
I think there is some sort of time dilation effect that takes place on the Chuo line in the direction of Hachioji. I believe I’ve isolated the origin of the phenomenon to Kokubunji. This train display demonstrates the problem. It says it is 11:08 and I’ll be in Hachioji in 18 minutes. But it’s just not true. It will end up taking about 30 minutes. Are there any physicists interested in researching this? There could be a journal paper in it.