Longer-lasting sunrises and sunsets with the start of summer

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Summer Solstice Sunset in Fort Lupton, CO

DENVER — Mid to late June is the prime time for those who love sunrises and sunsets. You get extra time to watch both — roughly 30 seconds more.

You probably have noticed that near the summer solstice, which occurred Monday, the length of daylight is longer because of the sun’s elevation in the sky. What you might not have seen is that the sunrises and sunsets take a little longer.

During the summer and winter solstices, the sun rises and sets at a shallow angle relative to the horizon — a slow setting angle if you will — making the length of each longer than any other time of the year.

During the spring and autumnal equinox, the sun rises/sets are at its steepest angle (straight down) to the horizon and that makes the duration of sunrises and sunsets much shorter.

Can you notice the difference? You bet. The duration now is about 3 minutes, 15 seconds. Whereas around the start of spring or fall, we see the duration shorten to only 2 minutes, 45-seconds.

For photographers, the best sunset photos seem to come in around this time of the year and near Christmas because these longest sunsets. Monday night’s sunset was no exception, or maybe it was because Jim Bennett caught the sunset and lightning together (you can always send your photos too, just put them on my facebook page to share).

Length of daylight – In case you missed it

I was asked Tuesday morning on 93.7 The Rock if the length of daylight is longest on Monday June 20 when the solstice occurred or on June 21 when it was the first full day of summer. The difference is only a single second.

Monday’s daylight length was the longest of the year. It was 14 hours, 59 minutes, 17 seconds. Tuesday’s is 1 second shorter.

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