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.
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?
|Utqiaġvik, AK (AKST)||–||–||–||There is no sunrise|
|Fairbanks, AK (AKST)||10:58 AM||2:39 PM||3:41:38||- 4 hr 52 min 34 sec|
|Anchorage, AK (AKST)||10:31 AM||3:41 PM||5:27:47||- 3 hr 6 min 25 sec|
|Winnipeg, MB (CST)||8:23 AM||4:29 PM||8:05:25||- 28 min 47 sec|
|Marquette, MI (EST)||8:30 AM||5:04 PM||8:34:12||–|
|Geen Bay, WI (CST)||7:25 AM||4:41 PM||8:49:29||+ 15 min 17 sec|
|Detroit, MI (EST)||7:57 AM||5:02 PM||9:04:47||+ 30 min 35 sec|
|Chicago, IL (CST)||7:14 AM||4:22 PM||9:07:46||+ 33 min 34 sec|
|Nashville, TN (CST)||6:54 am||4:36 PM||9:41:54||+ 1 hr 7 min 42 sec|
|Miami, FL (EST)||7:02 AM||5:34 PM||10:31:48||+ 1 hr 57 min 36 sec|
|Bogotá, COL (GMT-5)||5:58 AM||5:50 PM||11:51:34||+ 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.
|Dec 21 Daylight||Jun 21 Daylight||Difference|
|Utqiaġvik, AK (AKST)||00:00:00||24:00:00||24 hr|
|Fairbanks, AK (AKST)||3:41:38||21:49:36||18 hr 7 min 58 sec|
|Anchorage, AK (AKST)||5:27:47||19:21:23||13 hr 53 min 36 sec|
|Winnipeg, MB (CST)||8:05:25||16:21:06||8 hr 15 min 41 sec|
|Marquette, MI (EST)||8:34:12||15:49:47||7 hr 15 min 35 sec|
|Geen Bay, WI (CST)||8:49:29||15:33:17||6 hr 43 min 48 sec|
|Detroit, MI (EST)||9:04:47||15:16:51||6 hr 12 min 4 sec|
|Chicago, IL (CST)||9:07:46||15:13:40||6 hr 5 min 54 sec|
|Nashville, TN (CST)||9:41:54||14:37:20||4 hr 55 min 26 sec|
|Miami, FL (EST)||10:31:48||13:44:58||3 hr 13 min 10 sec|
|Bogotá, COL (GMT-5)||11:51:34||12:23:19||0 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.
And for good measure, here’s one more sunrise from December…