Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Sun time...

The sun is noticeably higher now, even though it's been less than 3 weeks since the solstice.  One odd thing is that when the sun reaches it's apex , 3° now,  it's around 1 pm, not noon. That's because back in the 80's the politicians in Juneau decided we needed to be closer to Seattle time, so Alaska's four time zones became two. The Alaska Time Zone (UTC−9) was switched to Yukon Time Zone (UTC-8), which is one hour earlier than Pacific Time (instead of two). The Yukon Territory switched to the Pacific Time Zone in 1975 and the Yukon Time Zone was not used except for a small area around Yakutat. Then, just to confuse things a little more, they changed the name back to the Alaska Time Zone.
The state of Alaska spans almost as much longitude as the contiguous United States (57.5° vs. 57.6°) so the use of two time zones will inevitably lead to some distortions. A clock set to Alaska time in Fairbanks reads 12:57 at solar noon. When daylight savings time is applied in the spring, this effect becomes even more apparent as solar noon is about 2 hours off. That's why in Alaska it's often referred to as "double daylight time" during the summer.  Largely taken from:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alaska_Time_Zone.
Here's a couple of photos of the January sun.


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