Today we have the earliest sunset of the year at 5:08 pm. The latest sunrise won’t occur until the first week of January. Today we get 9 hours, 5 minutes and 42 seconds of daylight (time between official sunrise and sunset). That bottoms out at the Winter Solstice on Dec. 21, when Grand Rapids will get 9 hours and 30 seconds of daylight. Today, solar noon is at 12:35 pm, when the sun is at an angle of 24 degrees above the southern horizon.
Here in December, you’ll notice the sun rises in the ESE and sets in the WSW. At the Equinoxes, the sun rises and sets due east and west, while at the Summer Solstice, the sun rises early in the ENE and sets in the WNW.
One more interesting fact. The sun is closer to the Earth in winter and farther away from the Earth in summer. The difference is about 3 million miles. If that were the opposite, with the sun closer to the Earth in summer, then we’d be about 3 degrees hotter in summer and 3 degrees colder in winter. I’d just as soon keep it the way it is now!