Chicago Winter

As Fall Begins, Here's When Winter Will Arrive in the Northern Hemisphere

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Thursday is a day that millions of Americans had been waiting for, as the autumnal equinox finally arrived in the Northern Hemisphere.

The equinox, which technically arrives at 8:04 p.m. Central Daylight Time, signals the approach of cooler weather and changing leaves, but it also points to the looming winter that many Chicagoans dread.

So just how long do you have to enjoy the fall before winter arrives?

For the Northern Hemisphere, the winter solstice, defined as the day with the least amount of sunlight of the year, will arrive on Wednesday, Dec. 21 at 3:48 p.m. Central Standard Time.

While the winter solstice is technically the shortest day of the year in terms of total daylight, clocking in at just a shade under nine hours and 11 minutes of sunlight, it doesn’t actually feature the latest sunrise or the earliest sunset of the year.

The earliest sunset of 2022 will actually occur on Dec. 8 and 9, according to Sunrise-Sunset. On those days, the sun will go down at exactly 4:21 p.m.

From there, sunset will get later in increments of just seconds, but the days will still technically get shorter until the solstice, as sunrise will occur at later and later times.

The latest sunset of the winter won’t actually occur until Jan. 5, when the sun will rise just before 6:47 a.m. in Chicago. At that point, days will technically be getting longer thanks to later sunsets, but they’ll still continue to get off to later starts from a daylight perspective.

A variety of factors go into those dates, mostly involving solar noon (defined as the time the sun is at its highest point in the sky) not falling at exactly 12 p.m., as well as the slowing of the Earth’s rotation around the sun in its yearly orbit.

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