12/21/2015 – Ephemeris – Except for 12 minutes today is the last day of autumn.
Ephemeris for Monday, December 21st. The Sun will rise at 8:16. It’ll be up for 8 hours and 48 minutes, setting at 5:04. The Moon, 3 days past first quarter, will set at 4:50 tomorrow morning.
Here we are at the mostly last day of autumn. The last 12 minutes will be the start of winter. The winter solstice will occur at 11:48 this evening, here in the Eastern Standard Time Zone. Next year winter will start 18 hours earlier. The reason is that next year is a leap year and the addition of an extra day will push all the solstices and equinoxes back by about 18 hours. Why only 18 hours? 18 hours is three-quarters of a day, and by this time next year we will have used up a quarter of that adjustment already. The Earth takes approximately 365 and a quarter days to orbit the Sun, so a day is added every 4th year, except century years not divisible by 400. I’ll discuss more about the implications of the solstice tomorrow.
Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.