2021, December 2:  Earliest Sunset

December 2-14, 2021:  December 2 marks the earliest sunset. This sunset time continues through December 14. Morning planet Mars is in the southeast, while Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter are in the southern sky after sunset.

Sunrise, the change in light from night to day


by Jeffrey L. Hunt

Today marks the earliest sunset time, 4:20 p.m. CST in Chicago.  Check your local sources for sunrise and sunset times at your location.  The sun continues to set at this time until December 14.

When the winter solstice occurs on December 21 at 9:59 a.m. CST, sunset time changes to 4:22 p.m. CST, only advancing two minutes.

For sunrise, the sun peeks across the horizon today at 7 a.m. CST.  Until the solstice the sunrise changes by fourteen minutes.  The latest sunrise (7:18 a.m. CST in Chicago) occurs December 28 through January 10. During that interval the sunset time changes twelve minutes.

A 7 a.m. CST sunrise in Chicago does not occur again until February 4.  On that date, sunset occurs at 5:10 p.m. CST, gaining nearly an hour over today’s time.

The Earth’s perihelion – closest point to the sun – occurs on January 4 at 12:55 a.m. CST. Because our planet is traveling through space at a slightly higher speed than its average speed around the sun, the earliest sunrise and set do not occur at the winter solstice.

Create your own sunrise and sunset calendar at sunrisesunset.com.

As for the planets, Mars is slowly making is morning appearance in the southeastern sky before sunrise.  The three evening planets – Venus, Saturn, and bright Jupiter – continue to dazzle in the evening sky.



Crescent Moon, Venus, and Aldebaran, July 17, 2020

2022, June 30: Planet Racetrack, Green Star

June 30, 2022: The gap between the four morning planets continues to widen.  In the evening sky a green star may lie among the stars of Scorpius that is in the south as twilight ends.

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An image like this shows that our galaxy is always "partly cloudy." Not unlike Earthly clouds that block parts of the sky (say on a starry night), tremendous clouds of gas and dust obscure the things that are beyond them.

2022, June 29:  Last Call, Mercury, Night Sky, Black Hole

2022, June 29: Sagittarius A star, the Milky Way’s suspected black hole, is in the south during the midnight hour.

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Venus and Jupiter in the morning sky, July 21, 2012

2022, June 28: Morning Planets

June 28, 2022: Four bright morning planets are easy to spot before sunrise.  Mercury is a challenge to spot, making it five worlds if you can see it.

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Categories: Astronomy, Sky Watching

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