(WVUE) - It seems counter intuitive as the hours of daylight shrink in December, but the earliest sunsets in New Orleans happen in late November and earlier December.
True, the shortest hours of daylight occur on the winter solstice, December 21, but the sun actually sets about five minutes earlier this week.
Experts explain that is due to a discrepancy between our modern day timekeeping and how time is measured using the sun.
Time and Date explains the equation of time here.
Boaters head toward the Tchefuncte River on the "High Bridge Canal" in Madisonville, LA
On November 29 in South Louisiana, the sun will set at roughly 5:00 p.m., five minutes earlier than on the solstice.
The setting sun lights up clouds behind the New Canal Lighthouse on the New Orleans lakefront.
A woman pauses to check out the sunset at "The Fly" along the Mississippi River in New Orleans.
Sunset along Boy Scout Trail in the Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge, Lacombe, LA
Pools of light in the Big Branch National Wildlife Refuge, Lacombe, LA
Sundown behind a tree line in the Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge, Lacombe, LA
Cypress trees frame the afterglow in Fontainebleau State Park, Mandeville, LA
The dates of the earliest sunsets, and sunrises for that matter, varies depending on latitude. For example, the sun will set today in New York City at 4:29 p.m. local time. However in Mexico City, the sun waits until 5:56 tonight to slip below the horizon.