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03/16/2021 – Ephemeris – Tonight we’ll have exactly 12 hours of night

16 Mar 2021, 04:01 UTC
03/16/2021 – Ephemeris – Tonight we’ll have exactly 12 hours of night
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

This is Ephemeris for Tuesday, March 16th. Today the Sun will be up for 11 hours and 57 minutes, setting at 7:50, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:50. The Moon, 3 days past new, will set at 11:15 this evening.
Did you notice what I just said? Sunset’s at 7:50 pm and sunrise’s at 7:50 am. Tonight we’ll have exactly 12 hours of night. That’s what the word equinox means, equal night… But the vernal or spring equinox isn’t until Saturday when spring starts. By then night, including twilight, will be down to 11 hours, 50 minutes. The disparity comes down to modern versus older definitions. Equinox, being Latin is an older definition. The modern instant of sunrise and sunset occurs when the top of the Sun’s disc touches the sea horizon. Because our atmosphere bends light, and at its greatest when looking at the horizon, the Sun will have set already, geometrically, by the time the bottom edge of the Sun appears to touch that sea horizon. Making daylight a bit longer than you’d think.
The astronomical event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.
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