6 p.m. sunsets are back in Utah – here’s a timetable for longer days

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Utahns have a good reason to celebrate because the days are getting longer. For the first time since Nov. 4, the sun will set on the Wasatch at 6 p.m.

The sun will continue to set about another minute later per day from Valentine’s Day until March 9, when daylight saving time begins and we spring our clocks forward an hour. Once that happens, we will have sunsets past 7 p.m. and nearly 12 hours of sun per day.

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The longest day of the year will come on the summer solstice, which falls on June 20. On that day the sun will rise just before 6 a.m. and set after 9 p.m. for a whopping 15-hour day of sunlight.

After the solstice, the days will go back to getting shorter but we won’t see another sunset before 6 p.m. until the clocks fall back and daylight saving time ends on Nov. 3.

See below for a table of notable days of sunlight using data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:





Feb. 13, 2024

7:25 a.m.

5:59 p.m.

10 hours, 34 minutes

Feb. 14, 2024

7:23 a.m.

6:01 p.m.

10 hours, 38 minutes

March 10, 2024

7:46 a.m.

7:30 p.m.

11 hours, 44 minutes

April 8, 2024

6:59 a.m.

8:00 p.m.

13 hours, 1 minute

May 6, 2024

6:19 a.m.

8:30 p.m.

14 hours, 11 minutes

June 12, 2024

5:56 a.m.

9:00 p.m.

15 hours, 4 minutes

June 20, 2024

5:56 a.m.

9:02 p.m.

15 hours, 6 minutes

July 11, 2024

6:07 a.m.

8:59 p.m.

14 hours, 52 minutes

Aug. 11, 2024

6:34 a.m.

8:30 p.m.

13 hours, 56 minutes

Sept. 1, 2024

6:55 a.m.

7:59 p.m.

13 hours, 4 minutes

Oct. 7, 2024

7:31 a.m.

6:59 p.m.

11 hours, 28 minutes

Nov. 3, 2024

7:01 a.m.

5:21 p.m.

10 hours, 20 minutes

Why do the days get longer and shorter?

The National Weather Service explains our days get longer and shorter due to the tilt of our earth’s axis. During the summer solstice, when our days are at their longest, the earth’s axis is tilted toward the sun at its maximum.

“Therefore, on the day of the summer solstice, the sun appears at its highest elevation with a noontime position that changes very little for several days before and after the summer solstice,” NWS said.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the shortest day and longest night of the year comes during the winter solstice, when the tilt is furthest away from the sun. This year, Utah will only get about 9 hours of sunlight on the winter solstice, according to the NOAA.

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There are two times per year when the earth’s axis is tilted neither toward nor away from the sun, giving us a nearly equal amount of day and night. These days are called equinoxes and they happen in between the summer and winter solstice. The spring equinox happens on and around March 20 while the fall equinox occurs on and around Sept. 22.

According to NOAA data, however, Salt Lake City will get an exact 12-hour split between the daytime hours and nighttime hours a few days before the spring equinox on March 16. The sun will rise at 7:36 a.m. and set at 7:36 p.m. It will happen again on Sept. 25, a few days after the fall equinox when the sun will rise at 7:19 a.m. and set at 7:19 p.m.

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