In all of this, don't we need to account for the moon (technically the suns reflection off the moon)? The New moon falls on December 14th, so that night will have less light than the days surrounding it.
I have always had a profound response to this time of year, and go into hibernation in varying degrees, depending on the day. This morning my energy is very low...I just read your article about December 8, and sort of smiled, knowing I had less energy for some reason. Thank you for your insights. I just let myself stay in bed late, and dozed off and on. Today I will be winding up slowly to do the chores of the day. And choosing rest instead of illness...
So, when the Almanac or other folks say the winter solstice is the darkest day of the year, is that wrong? Or, is it a different way of looking at it? In other words, the shortest day of the year (the solstice) is NOT the darkest day of the year? Thanks for clarifying.
Yes, Chris, the solstice has the longest night and shortest day and lowest noonday sun. But the darkest afternoon (earliest sunset) is Dec 7 or 8, and the darkest morning (latest sunrise) is the first week of January.
I think they were pointing out how some people's perspective might indicate a different "darkest day". As in how for some it might seem that an earlier sunset is the darkest day since they might be sleeping in past sunrise on that day. Or how for some who get up early might note that it is longer until the sun comes up. But it may just simply be that, yes, the day with the least amount of daylight hours would indeed be the "darkest day".
However, I sense what you are looking for is something very similar to the question that was on my own mind and which is the reason I am here as well; that being that there may be some other atmospheric or geometric phenomena that would decrease the amount of visible light to something less than the actual numeric time that the sun is visible on the shortest day of the year. To my knowledge, there isn't anything that would cause the amount of photons to be present to be less than there should be except things like mountains or weather.
Mr. Berman : I would like to see this article become an annual (upadated) reprint.
In fact, it deserves its own permanent Almanac page with any few adjustments table for latitude.