When one lives away from the equator, say at around 37° latitude, does the sky get darker faster after the sun sets in the winter as compared to the summer? Why is this the case? I believe that if you were to draw the path the sun traverses at different times of the year, the paths are parallel to each other but shifted, such that in summertime, the path is longer with a shorter section below the horizon and in winter it is shorter with a longer section below the horizon. I imagine that the angle of the path relative to the horizon is approximately the complement of your latitude.

  • $\begingroup$ I believe the sun sets fastest at the equinoxes. The sun has to traverse a larger circle (the celestial equator) on those days that it does when it's far north or far south. You might also take a look at: aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/RS_OneYear.php and compute the length of twilight yourself. $\endgroup$
    – user21
    Oct 9, 2014 at 16:54
  • $\begingroup$ Just curious, do you feel that the answer that you've currently accepted fully answers your question as asked? If not, you can click again and it will un-accept which will encourage others to post answers you and/or future readers might like better and find more helpful based on what the question asks and what future readers will come here expecting to find answered. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Nov 26, 2020 at 2:01
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @uhoh I selected it as the best answer thus far, wouldn't expect that to mean others shouldn't provide other answers. $\endgroup$
    – WilliamKF
    Nov 27, 2020 at 3:27

1 Answer 1


The further north you go, the time between sunset and darkness becomes longer, no matter the season. The reason is due to the velocity at that latitude. If there is 10 min of twilight on the equator, then there is $10\sqrt{2}$ min at 45° latitude, 20 min at 60° latitude, ...

I used the website that @barrycarter listed above and discovered that there are 2 maxima and minima during the year. The solstices have the longest twilight times and the equinoxes have the shortest twilight times.

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    $\begingroup$ This doesn't actually answer the summer/winter question. $\endgroup$
    – user21
    Oct 9, 2014 at 16:52

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