How Many Minutes of Daylight Do People Gain Each Day?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Apr 12, 2020 11:09:22 PM ET
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In January, each day gains between 90 seconds and two minutes of daylight. In February, about two and a half minutes of daylight are added each day.


As the sun moves higher in the sky from March through June, there are about two more minutes of daylight per day. To make matters complex, the higher a person's latitude ‰ÛÓ the distance from the earth's Equator ‰ÛÓ the longer the sun will appear to stay above the horizon, though it will appear very low in the sky, according to an article in the Washington Post.

The Sun's Ascent Brings More Daylight

The vernal equinox in March of every year to the summer solstice in June is the period of time when the sun begins its ascent from the lowest point in the southern sky. As the sun climbs in the sky, the total daylight exposure that the Northern Hemisphere of the earth receives each day also increases. This is why the Northern Hemisphere experiences seasons opposite from when they occur in the Southern Hemisphere. This is also why much of the United States observes Daylight Savings Time.

Daylight Savings Time Explained

Daylight Savings Time (DST) is a seasonal change in time where clocks are set ahead by one hour so that the sun rises and sets later ‰ÛÓ per the clock ‰ÛÓ than the day before. It's also called summer hours. DST was established in the early 1900s, some say in Canada or Germany, while many say that Benjamin Franklin conceived the idea in an essay he wrote in 1784. Its intention is to extend daylight as a way to make better use of daylight in warmer months to save energy by keeping the demand for electricity lower at night when most people are home. In theory, the amount of electricity used per day is supposed to decrease because people stay outdoors in longer daylight hours. DST ends in the fall when the rationale is to help people and businesses by having more daylight available in the morning. Research about energy savings and DST can be controversial, indicating that there are benefits or no benefits, depending on the study.

DST is used in dozens of countries, but the date when it begins and ends varies by country, according to The phrase "Spring forward, fall back" was created to help people remember when DST begins and ends and which way the clock goes. In the spring, clocks are moved forward an hour to start DST. In the fall, clocks are moved back an hour when DST ends.

The Shortest Day of the Year

Typically in August, the daily rate of how many minutes of daylight lost begins to accelerate two minutes per day until the winter solstice, which occurs between December 20 and December 23. That is the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere when the North Pole is tilted farthest from the sun, notes

The Longest Day of the Year

Areas south of the Antarctic Circle near the South Pole experience the midnight sun, which is 24 hours of daylight when the Northern Hemisphere experiences the shortest day of the year. The longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere arrives in the summer, which is also the hottest day of the year that sees the most sun on June 21. That is when the Southern Hemisphere is experiencing its winter solstice and the shortest day of the year.