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Earliest Sunset, Liquidambar Trees, Mars is Closest until 2033

Cabrillo Monument is a great place to watch the early sunset

Cabrillo Lighthouse at sunset.

Pt Loma, CA
Cabrillo Lighthouse at sunset. Pt Loma, CA

Earliest Sunset (4:42 p.m. from San Diego) occurs Monday, December 3 or 4, a date that is not coincident with the shortest day (winter solstice – December 21) because of factors relating to the non-circular shape of Earth’s orbit around the sun and the tilt of Earth’s rotational axis. Because of the elliptical orbit of the earth, when the earth is closer to the sun, its orbit is quicker. Because of the rotational axis of the earth, a solstice occurs when one of the poles is leaning towards the sun, while an equinox occurs when neither pole is leaning towards the sun. Our clocks are set so that every day is exactly 86,400 seconds, but in reality, the solar day can be up to 22 seconds shorter or 29 seconds longer than 24 hours. Early December is a good time to view the setting sun from the spectacular vantage point of Cabrillo National Monument at the tip of Point Loma. During most of the year, you can’t do that, since sunset occurs well after the park’s closing time of 5 pm.

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Two liquidambar trees in Point Loma, one almost completely bare next to another still with green leaves.

Liquidambar Trees, or sweet gums, the colorfully deciduous trees gracing front yards, parks, and campuses throughout the San Diego area, have been putting on a good show for the past month. The maplelike leaves of some varieties have turned from green to purple to red; the leaves of other varieties have faded to a golden yellow. Still other varieties will hold on to their leaves until the New Year. Most will regain their foliage by late February.

The red planet Mars, named for the Roman god of war, has long been an omen in the night sky.

Mars is closest to Earth exactly at 6pm on November 30, its closest until 2033. But for all practical purposes, it’s just as close for at least a week before and after. Rounded to the nearest tenth of an arcsecond, Mars stays 17.2 arcseconds in diameter from November 28th through December 4th.

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Cabrillo Lighthouse at sunset.

Pt Loma, CA
Cabrillo Lighthouse at sunset. Pt Loma, CA

Earliest Sunset (4:42 p.m. from San Diego) occurs Monday, December 3 or 4, a date that is not coincident with the shortest day (winter solstice – December 21) because of factors relating to the non-circular shape of Earth’s orbit around the sun and the tilt of Earth’s rotational axis. Because of the elliptical orbit of the earth, when the earth is closer to the sun, its orbit is quicker. Because of the rotational axis of the earth, a solstice occurs when one of the poles is leaning towards the sun, while an equinox occurs when neither pole is leaning towards the sun. Our clocks are set so that every day is exactly 86,400 seconds, but in reality, the solar day can be up to 22 seconds shorter or 29 seconds longer than 24 hours. Early December is a good time to view the setting sun from the spectacular vantage point of Cabrillo National Monument at the tip of Point Loma. During most of the year, you can’t do that, since sunset occurs well after the park’s closing time of 5 pm.

Sponsored
Sponsored

Two liquidambar trees in Point Loma, one almost completely bare next to another still with green leaves.

Liquidambar Trees, or sweet gums, the colorfully deciduous trees gracing front yards, parks, and campuses throughout the San Diego area, have been putting on a good show for the past month. The maplelike leaves of some varieties have turned from green to purple to red; the leaves of other varieties have faded to a golden yellow. Still other varieties will hold on to their leaves until the New Year. Most will regain their foliage by late February.

The red planet Mars, named for the Roman god of war, has long been an omen in the night sky.

Mars is closest to Earth exactly at 6pm on November 30, its closest until 2033. But for all practical purposes, it’s just as close for at least a week before and after. Rounded to the nearest tenth of an arcsecond, Mars stays 17.2 arcseconds in diameter from November 28th through December 4th.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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