Dwindling daylight and Jupiter in the evening

Traffic crests the Rowan Street bridge just before sunset in Fayetteville on July 22, 2021. Sunset is at 7:44 pm Sept.  1 but changes to 6:54 pm Sept.  30. September's earlier sunsets and later sunrises result in the loss of an hour of daylight during the month.

Everyone knows about the abrupt, one-hour-by-the-clock change in sunset times with the resulting early darkness when we switch back to standard time in early November.

But a more gradual loss of daylight is happening right now.

Between Sept. 1 and the end of the month, we lose an hour of daylight. We lose a little more than an hour in October. This slow loss of daylight is leading up to the shortest daylight period of the year — the winter solstice on Dec. 21 — when our Fayetteville daylight period is a short nine hours and 48 minutes.

September also brings the autumnal equinox on Sept. 22 which signals the start of fall in the northern hemisphere and spring south of the equator.

Equinox means “equal night” and on the equinox daytime and nighttime hours are supposedly equal in length.

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