December 11th was the last time this year the sun will set at 4:46pm. This stretch of darkness extended this year from December 1st through the 11th, which is the period of days with the earliest sunset. Here we are now on the elusive 12/12/12 and the sun sets at a managable 4:47pm. Hey, every minute counts when you absolutely hate leaving work in the dark.
- Sunrise and sunset times for D.C.
So when will the D.C. area really begin to gain some ground? Well, let us not forget that the duration of daylight in the D.C. area continues to lose ground through the winter solstice. The shortest days for our region in 2012 are December 20th through the 22nd, which only have 9 hours and 26 minutes of daylight. With that being said, here on 12/12/12 we still have 9 hours and 29 minutes of daylight, so we'll continue to lose it in the morning, but not in the evening.
Related: See the Earth from Space at Night
So how about some good news that will make most of you (just a wild guess) happy. The sunset was 4:46pm yesterday, but by the end of the month, we gain 10 minutes of daylight in the evening for the sunset to get to 4:56pm. The sunset reaches 5pm on January 4th, and is all the way to 5:29pm on January 31st. The end of February on the 28th sees the sun until 6pm. We will of course gain all of this ground through Sunday, March 10th, when we enter Daylight Saving Time once more and Spring Forward.
As far as the sunrise is concerned, the latest sunrise occurs from December 31st through January 9th, when it rises at 7:27am. It will be slow going through January, rising at 7:15am by the 31st and finally back to 7am by February 14th.