Why do we get more light during the summer months than dark during the winter months?



I live in Anchorage, AK. During the shortest days of the year, we get 19.5 hours of daylight and 4.5 hours of “night”, and it doesn’t really count as night because it doesn’t get totally dark. But in the winter, it’s closer to 18.5 hours of night and 5.5 hours of daylight, and technically it’s closer to 16.5 hours of night because for 2ish hours of the day it’s not totally dark (as the sun is rising and setting). So why isn’t it more equal?

In: Other

… because of where you live, the angle of the planet on the earth’s axis and the earth’s rotation.

The sun is not a point of light, it has a visible diameter of about half-degree. The lengths of longest day and longest night would be equal if night changed into day when the center of the sun rose above the horizon, and vice versa. But instead night becomes day as soon as the upmost point of the sun disk shows up, even though most of the sun is yet below the horizon. Since at higher latitudes the sun doesn’t ever rise too high into the sky this half-degree diameter makes a lot of difference, and thus the longest day is significantly longer than the longest night.