The Shortest Day in the Most Upper of Peninsulas

Ah, winter in the Upper Peninsula, I love it. Twenty-one days into December and it has been the winteriest December I recall in recent memory. It’s almost on par with this past February, where places like Twin Lakes has already had nearly ten feet of snowfall.

Last year we chased the latest sunset in the Eastern Timezone which inspired us to look at how our long, late summer evenings in the Upper Peninsula comprae to other places in the country.

Now it’s time to look at the shortest day of the year. Today, December 21, is the shortest amount of daylight on the calendar year.

There will be just 8 hours and 34 minutes of daylight. To compare, the summer solstice has 15 hours and 49 minutes of daylight. Meaning we have 7 hours and 15 minutes less daylight than its peak. That’s a significant difference.

Of course, there is still no promise of even seeing the sun. Something I have become very familiar with this year while photographing every sunrise of 2019.

Here is this morning’s sunrise. This makes ten days in a row of not seeing the sun at sunrise. I believe the record is fourteen. Though the sun certainly did rise.

Winter Solstice Sunrise

Winter Solstice sunrise from Marquette, Michigan.

The longest days, the shortest days

A difference of 7 hours and 15 minutes between our longest and shortest days of the year is pretty significant, all in part to the Upper Peninsula being so far north. So how does this compare to other North American locations?

SunriseSunsetDaylightDaylight Difference
Utqiaġvik, AK (AKST)There is no sunrise
Fairbanks, AK (AKST)10:58 AM2:39 PM3:41:38- 4 hr 52 min 34 sec
Anchorage, AK (AKST)10:31 AM3:41 PM5:27:47- 3 hr 6 min 25 sec
Winnipeg, MB (CST)8:23 AM4:29 PM8:05:25- 28 min 47 sec
Marquette, MI (EST)8:30 AM5:04 PM8:34:12
Geen Bay, WI (CST)7:25 AM4:41 PM8:49:29+ 15 min 17 sec
Detroit, MI (EST)7:57 AM5:02 PM9:04:47+ 30 min 35 sec
Chicago, IL (CST)7:14 AM4:22 PM9:07:46+ 33 min 34 sec
Nashville, TN (CST)6:54 am4:36 PM9:41:54+ 1 hr 7 min 42 sec
Miami, FL (EST)7:02 AM5:34 PM10:31:48+ 1 hr 57 min 36 sec
Bogotá, COL (GMT-5)5:58 AM5:50 PM11:51:34+ 3 hr 17 min 22 sec

Perspective is everything. So when you’re dreading the short days, just remember what the people of Cananda and Alaska are going through. If empathy fails, book a trip to Bogotá where you can get an extra three hours of daylight.

Jun 21 DaylightDec 21 DaylightDifference
Utqiaġvik, AK (AKST)00:00:0024:00:0024 hr
Fairbanks, AK (AKST)3:41:3821:49:3618 hr 7 min 58 sec
Anchorage, AK (AKST)5:27:4719:21:2313 hr 53 min 36 sec
Winnipeg, MB (CST)8:05:2516:21:068 hr 15 min 41 sec
Marquette, MI (EST)8:34:1215:49:477 hr 15 min 35 sec
Geen Bay, WI (CST)8:49:2915:33:176 hr 43 min 48 sec
Detroit, MI (EST)9:04:4715:16:516 hr 12 min 4 sec
Chicago, IL (CST)9:07:4615:13:406 hr 5 min 54 sec
Nashville, TN (CST)9:41:5414:37:204 hr 55 min 26 sec
Miami, FL (EST)10:31:4813:44:583 hr 13 min 10 sec
Bogotá, COL (GMT-5)11:51:3412:23:190 hr 31 min 45 sec

Living in the Upper Peninsula there is a large varience between longest and shortest day. Short cold winter days, long warm(ish) summer days. Of course this difference is nothing compared to Alaska or closer to the equator.

Here’s the kicker, only 5% of the North American population (approximately 30 million people) live above the 45th parallel. With nearly twice as much daylight during the Summer Solstice compared to the Winter Solstice, is a rare experience.

Alas, as of today, the days begin to get longer. Tomorrow, there will be an extra five seconds of daylight. Make the most of it.

– Bugsy

And for good measure, here’s one more sunrise from December…

Sunrise at Shiras Park

Sunrise from December 11 from Shiras Park in Marquette, Michigan.

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