Welcome back, late sunsets. We’ve missed you.

Since the winter solstice, Rochester has been steadily gaining daylight. First in small increments, now in bigger chunks. This has resulted in our sunrises arriving earlier and earlier while our sunsets come later and later. Thursday evening, we mark our first 8 p.m. sunset of 2022. It’s been awhile, by the way. Our last 8 p.m. sunset was August 22 of last year. We’ll enjoy post-8pm sunset from this point onward until August 23.

But wait a minute. How come our last one was August 22 last year and August 23 this year? While we humans measure a year with a nice round number of 365 days, our planet isn’t quite that simplistic. It actually takes 365.256 days for the earth to complete its orbit around the sun. This difference can result in slight variability on exact sunrise/sunset times on a given date year to year. Similarly, solstices, equinoxes & the like can have some variability. It is the tilt & elliptical orbit of the earth responsible for daylight times themselves changing on a day-to-day basis. As we journey around the sun, earth’s tilt exposes varying parts of the planet to changing amounts of daylight. That tilt is also responsible for our change in seasons.

By the way, Rochester’s sunset time never quite makes it to 9 p.m. we peak around 8:54 p.m. for several days in late June before starting to give those minutes back. This is our time to shine, Rochester. Enjoy it!

Chief Meteorologist Eric Snitil