If you're the kind of person who hates when it gets dark so early, I have some good news for you. The earliest sunsets of the year are happening now, and depending on where you are in New Jersey, the sun will start setting later tomorrow!

(Sunset over the Toms River, photo by Liz Jeressi)
(Sunset over the Toms River, photo by Liz Jeressi)

Bear with me, guys...I'm about to nerd out REAL hard!

If you're like me and tend to notice the lack of daylight more in the afternoon, you'll be happy to know that the sunsets will start to get later again. (And when it starts staying light out later into the evening that means summer is coming. Right? Please? Wishful thinking...)

Anyway, the more north you go, the earlier sunset time you'll experience. For example, up in Sussex, the earliest sunsets of the year happen at 4:29 p.m., which has happened everyday this week, and will until Sunday, when the sunset time is 4:30 p.m. (I didn't say it's a quick change.)

Head to Monmouth County and Asbury Park's earliest sunsets at 4:30 p.m. started December 2nd and will continue until it moves to 4:31 p.m. on December 13th.

In Ocean County, Toms River has seen sunset at 4:31 since December 6th, but will see the sunset tomorrow, December 9th at 4:32 p.m.

Head all the way down to Cape May, and the times get ever-so-slightly later there too. Sunset there has been at 4:37 p.m. since December 3rd and will be at that time until Saturday, when the sun sets at 4:38 p.m.

Now, it's important to note that because of science-y things (earth's axis and the idea of 'solar time' vs. our clocks and the time we actually use, etc.), a day with the earliest sunset is not necessarily the shortest day of the year.

The shortest day of the year always coincides with the Winter Solstice, which in 2016 will happen on December 21st (at 5:44 a.m., to be exact.)

Basically, on December 21st, the sunset time may be slightly later than it is this week, but the sunrise times will also be later then too, which leaves us with the least amount of daylight for the year.

The good news for all of us is that once the sunsets start getting later, they will continue getting later minute by minute until early July...when we start going the other way again.


Want to check out the sunrise and sunset times for your town? Get your chart from the U.S. Naval Observatory HERE!

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