Shortest day behind us, peninsula gaining light

The central peninsula received less than six hours of daylight during the winter solstice on Tuesday, which officially marked the end of fall. While the region has already been laboring under winter conditions, the season didn’t technically begin until Dec. 21 and won’t end until March 20.

The winter solstice, in the earth’s Northern Hemisphere, occurs when the sun is directly over the Tropic of Capricorn and marks the shortest day and longest night of the year, according to the National Weather Service. The Tropic of Capricorn is about 23.5 degrees south of the equator and runs through Australia, Chile, southern Brazil and northern South Africa, according to the agency.

According to the Global Monitoring Laboratory, which operates under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Earth System Research Laboratories, Kenai received about five hours and 41 minutes of daylight, with the sun rising at 10:13 a.m. and setting at 3:54 p.m.

That’s compared to Homer, which saw about five hours and 59 minutes of daylight, with the sun rising at 10:05 a.m. and setting at 4:04 p.m. In Seward, the sun rose at 10:01 a.m. and set at 3:51 p.m., giving the city about five hours and 50 minutes of daylight.

The amount of daylight Kenai received is not comparable to places like Utqiagvik, where the sun set in late November and will rise in late January, or Fairbanks, where the sun rose at 10:59 a.m. and set at 2:40 p.m. But, it’s less than folks got in Juneau, where the sun rose at 8:45 a.m. and set at 3:07.

As of Thursday, there were 180 days remaining until the summer solstice on June 21, 2022, which is the longest day of the year and marks the official beginning of summer.

Sunrise and sunset times can be calculated at

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at

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