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Thursday, January 20, 2022

Use the shortest day and longest night to consider Daylight Saving Time year round

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Discover beautiful winter sunsets right in your own front yard in Naperville, Illinois. (PN File Photo 2011)

Updated Post, Nov. 7, 2021 / Time got away from us since last December. And our quest to engage elected officials to change Daylight Saving Time to the standard throughout the year fell by the wayside. Where did time go? As clocks fall back today, this post from a year ago on the winter solstice has attracted a multitude of readers searching “Daylight Saving Time,” according to our daily analytics. Think about it. Thanks for reading!

Click here for some pros and cons.

Original Post, Dec. 21, 2020 / Today is the winter solstice, the shortest day and the longest night of the year— also known locally as “the first day of winter.”

Arriving annually sometime on Dec. 20, 21 or 22, the winter solstice marks the beginning of astronomical winter in the Northern Hemisphere and the beginning of summer in the southern half of the world.

This sunset was taken from United States Post Office property near the Naperville Electric Company. (PN File Photo 2017)

Sunsets this time of year can be just as spectacular as ones during the summer.

Every December, the winter solstice happens everywhere on Earth at the same instant, though the actual time varies, depending on the time zone.

For instance in 2020, early this morning, Mon., Dec. 21, the winter solstice arrived overnight in Naperville at 4:02AM CST.

According to NASA, that instant marked when the sun reached its southernmost position in the sky, no matter where on Earth an individual happens to be.

Sunrise followed at 7:16AM. Sunset arrives 4:25PM. Note that’s 9 hours and 8 minutes of daylight today and 14 hours and 52 minutes of darkness. Wouldn’t sunset be better at 5:25PM?

Also significant on the winter solstice is that midday, when the blue sky is as clear as it was at noon today in Naperville, the sun appears lower in the sky than usual. And shadows will stretch longer than of any other time of the year. 

As daylight begins to pass after a snowy day, be sure to check out sunsets on the street where you live. (PN File Photo 2014)

Today might present the shortest day of light of the year, but the days will begin getting longer tomorrow. All individuals will gain extra seconds of daylight every day until the next solstice in June 2021, a time recognized as the first day of summer. The summer solstice 2021 in Northern Hemisphere will be at 10:31PM on Sun., June 20, in the Central Time Zone.

Beginning with the 2020 “fall back” time change on Nov. 1, a seasonal event that took away an hour of light at the end of the day, PN started a monthly awareness campaign to get rid of Standard Time in the Central Time Zone, the region highlighted in yellow in the image below. Our aim is to advance Daylight Saving Time (DST) year round.

Notes and public comments on the Old Farmer’s Almanac website provide plenty of reasons in support of DST year round. Contributors to Positively Naperville have espoused the woes of biannual time change for years. But every year after we fall back or spring forward, we just let the need to change slip away, simply trying to adjust. Life goes on. We get busy. And we fail to try to heighten awareness until the next clock-changing time.

This year and next, however, we’re determined to be different, mindful that since 2015, “more than 200 bills and resolutions have been introduced in virtually every state to either stay on standard time or convert to full-time DST,” according to a report in the “Old Farmer’s Almanac.”

Reach out to family, family and other folks with info about DST

Moreover, if you have a little time on your hands, reach out to friends, family and other folks in Illinois and throughout the entire Central Time Zone. Urge them to talk about the advantages of DST.

Much-appreciated light at the end of every winter day is way past due. After all, what’s any major benefit of light early in the morning? Think about it. Early evening light is good for walks, strolls and runs in the great outdoors or a trip to the supermarket or shopping on the way home from work. (We’re hopeful work days begin again soon so we can get back out on the beat.) Click here for some pros and cons.

Contact your local, state and federal representatives. Take time to talk up DST to all local publicly elected officials—park district commissioners, school board members and city council members. Begin the conversation to inspire Congress to do something that’s beneficial, healthful and cost-effective for all, especially now.

It’s way past time. Help make DST permanent. Thanks for reading! —PN

For starters, kindly contact local elected officials:

Naperville City Council: council@naperville.il.us

School District 203 Board of Education: Click here to “contact” form

School District 204 Board of Education: Click here to “contact” form

Naperville Park District Board of Commissioners: Contact emails

List of Elected Officials from here to Washington, D.C. serving Naperville

And then there’s the Jupiter and Saturn connection on Dec. 21

News reports since summer 2020 have informed readers that Saturn takes approximately 30 years to go around the sun, while Jupiter takes nearly 12 years—and the two largest planets have been getting closer and closer together, now plainly visible in the clear night sky, inching ever closer together for a well-promoted show on the winter solstice, Dec. 21.

Yet, on the longest night of year in Naperville, cloud cover is such that visibility of the so-called “double planet” is obscured. Still, have faith. From now until Dec. 25, the two planets will become even closer. Look for the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction low in the western sky for about an hour after sunset each evening through Christmas.

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PN Editor
An editor is someone who prepares content for publishing. It entered English, the American Language, via French. Its modern sense for newspapers has been around since about 1800.

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