This evening (Dec. 9) we had the earliest sunset of the year- 5:08 pm in Grand Rapids. Beginning tomorrow, we’ll start to gain a little daylight in the evening. Our latest sunrise comes on Jan. 3. The shortest day (9 hours and 31 seconds) is the Winter Solstice on December 21st (on the 22nd, we gain a whole 1 second of daylight). At solar noon, the sun climbs to only 24 degrees above the southern horizon.

We have a full moon right now. The full moon of December is called the “Snow Moon” The December full moon comes nearly directly overhead. We haven’t had much chance to see the sun or the moon of late. Over the past 5 days, we’ve had only 12% of possible sunshine.

South Pole – Friday evening, Dec. 9

When it’s winter in Michigan, it’s summer in the Southern Hemisphere, including here at the South Pole. This is a screen grab from the webcam at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station.

The Amundsen-Scott Station, was dedicated in January 2008. They begin summer operations in October of each year. The station typically remains in summer operating mode until early February, at which point the eight-month long winter season begins. At an elevation of 2,835 meters (9,300 feet), South Pole has an average monthly temperature in the summer of -28°C (-18°F); in the winter, the average monthly temperature is -60°C (-76°F).

Weather at the South Pole at 6:01 pm on 12/9 – Friday

This was the weather at the South Pole at 6:01 pm Friday, Dec. 9. The temperature was -22F with a wind chill factor of-46F. Skies were mostly clear.