Earliest sunsets of the year are here

If it feels dark almost right after work, it’s because it is.

In Dayton, the earliest sunset is at 5:12 p.m. Our sunset will remain around this time through Dec. 14 before we see it get later and later.

>> Hour by hour forecast

Winter officially will begin Dec. 21 with the winter solstice. This marks the shortest day and longest night of the year. Even though the solstice marks the shortest day, it doesn't mark the earliest sunset or latest sunrise. This usually occurs about two weeks before and after the solstice.

>> SkyWitness7

The three don't match up because the Earth is tilted on an axis and doesn’t revolve around the sun in a perfect circle. Our clock also is 24 hours from noon to noon. This is different from “solar noon,” which is when the sun is at the highest point in the sky. Because noon on the clock doesn't match up with the solar noon day to day, our earliest sunset, latest sunrise and shortest day are out of sync.

The latest sunrise is after the winter solstice at 7:58 a.m. on Jan. 3.