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Skywatch: Enjoy the earliest sunsets of the year

We see the earliest sunsets of the year just before the winter solstice.
Credit: The Earliest Sunsets of the Year

If the sun seems to be setting earlier there’s a reason for that. This week we see the earliest sunsets of the year. We think of a day as 24 hours but if you measure the day from one “solar noon” (when the sun is highest in the sky) to the next you’ll find it’s seldom 24 hours. 

This discrepancy is why the earliest sunsets are this time of year and not on the winter solstice. According to sunrise-sunset.org the earliest sunset of the years occurs on Sunday, December 6 at 5:06 & 14 seconds p.m.

Credit: Last Quarter Moon

The Last Quarter Moon occurs Monday evening at 7:37 p.m. Enjoy the half-moon if you’re out overnight or early on Tuesday.

Credit: Venus & the Moon

Venus has a date with a waning crescent moon on Saturday morning. The two will be very close before sunrise in the eastern sky. Venus will look like a very bright star just below the “fingernail moon”.

Credit: Look for Meteors

With a darkening sky be on the lookout for meteors this week. The Geminid meteor shower is expected to peak early next week but the shower is active from December 4 – 17. 

That means with a darker sky you may see some stragglers as we ramp up to the peak. Find a dark spot, far away from the city for the best chance of catching the show a few days early. Happy hunting!