Earliest sunsets through 12/12 (also the Full Moon)

The Sky This Week, 2019 December 3 – 10 — Naval Oceanography Portal

This week we begin to see the phenomena associated with the winter solstice.  The solstice “season” begins with the year’s earliest sunsets, which occur all of this week.  Here in Washington the Sun disappears below the horizon at 4:46 pm EST.  He will gradually start to set later starting on December 13th.  Although this gives the illusion of the days getting longer, we won’t see our latest sunrise until early January.  In between the solstice occurs on the 21st, which will be the year’s shortest day.  This seemingly odd behavior is due to the way we now keep time.

December’s Full Moon is variously known as the Long Night Moon, Old Moon, or the Moon Before Yule.  Since this Full Moon occurs closest to the winter solstice is will be the most northerly one of the year, beaming down on the frosty landscape below.