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Saturday, June 15, 2024

Sky Tonight—April 14, Sundial noon and clock noon agree in middle April

Courtesy of EarthSky
A Clear Voice for Science

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Every year around mid-April, time by the sun and time by the clock agree. For instance, when the midday sun climbs highest in the sky in mid-April, the sundial reads 12 o’clock noon and your local clock time says 12 o’clock noon.

Your local clock time is the same as standard clock time, as long as you live on the meridian that governs your time zone. If you live east of the time zone line, then your local time runs ahead of standard time. If you live west of the time zone line, local time lags behind standard time.

How do I translate Universal Time into my time?

For simplicity, let’s refer to places that sit right on the time zone meridian, like Denver or Philadelphia. Midday – noon by the sun – reads 12 o’clock noon standard clock time or 1 p.m. Daylight Saving Time.

At present, the length of the day as measured by successive returns of the midday sun is slightly less than 24 hours long. This slight daily discrepancy between the clock and the sun will accumulate until mid-May. In mid-May, midday – noon by the sundial – will come at 11:56 a.m. local clock time or 12:56 p.m. Daylight Saving Time.

After mid-May, day length as measured by successive middays (sundial noons) will become slightly more than 24 hours long. By around mid-June, noon by the sun and noon by the clock will agree once again.

It’s summer. What’s noon to you?

Looking for an astronomical almanac? EarthSky recommends . . .

Above photo from Carmichael‘s photostream.

By Bruce McClure



Astronomy Picture of the Day from NASA/JPL

EarthSky: Space

CHANDRA Photo Album

U.S. Naval Observator Astronomical Information center

Universe Today

StarDate Online

Sky and Telescope

National Geographic

Space Com

Simostronomy Blog

Amazing Space

The York County Astronomical Society

Scope City

James S McDonnell Planetarium

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