A beautiful pre-5 p.m. sunset in November 2014. (Richard Barnhill via Flickr)

Dwindling light is perhaps the hardest part of heading into winter. This is especially true if you have the typical 9-to-5 type of job. Walking out into darkness is never easy or fun.

And while the commute home has been quite dark since the time change this past Sunday, starting Friday, we’ll endure almost two months of pre-5 p.m. sunsets.

On Friday, the District’s sunset is 4:59 p.m. Our sunsets will then come about a minute earlier every day for the following three weeks, until we reach a sunset at 4:46 p.m. on Nov. 29. At that point, we kind of hang out for a while.

At the same time we lose light at the end of the day, we will also lose it at the beginning. In the coming weeks, the sunrise, currently at 6:43 a.m., will shift a minute or two later each day.


Sunset times in Washington, per timeanddate.com. (Ian Livingston/The Washington Post)

By the time Washington reaches its earliest sunsets, sunrise will have drifted to 7:05 a.m., also on the 29th of this month. This yields a daylight period of 9 hours and 41 minutes, compared with 10 hours and 17 minutes today.

The shortest day comes six weeks from Friday, on the winter solstice, which is Dec. 21. On that day, Washington will see only 9 hours and 26 minutes of daylight.

If you’re like me and you’re looking for some good news in all of this, it’s that we’ll begin to see sunset slip later Dec. 15, when it’ll tick back to 4:47 p.m. Soon!

Our next 5 p.m. sunset after today? Jan. 5, 2019.

This article initially incorrectly stated that the earliest sunrise was Dec. 21, when it was meant that this is the shortest day.