For those of you who desire longer afternoons and later sunsets, you may be in luck! Some cities have already passed their earliest sunset of the year and in fact, are already seeing slightly later sunsets.
The long shadow cast during a December afternoon
Cities such as Miami, Atlanta, Dallas and Los Angeles have already had their earliest sunsets of the year. What do those cities have in common? They sit along the southern tier of the United States. Northern cities such as Chicago, Denver and Portland are just now approaching their earliest sunset of the year.
Here are some of the major cities and their earliest sunset times (all times local). If the date has already passed in a city near you, that means your sunset is getting later and later each day! For those of you who enjoy brighter evenings that are longer-lasting, that's great news. Hang in there, northern cities. Your sunsets will gradually get later after the midway point of December.
What's the reason? It's all about our orbit around the sun! We are currently tilted away from the sun (in the Northern Hemisphere) which means the sun is in our southern sky. We are just coming around the bend in our orbit where we start to slowly and gradually tilt back toward the sun as we approach the Spring Equinox. That time is still far away, so the later sunsets will be a very gradual transition.