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Brighter days: Minnesota gaining 3 minutes of daylight per day now

Feb 19, 2020 06:44AM ● By Editor

Photo:  Duluth News Tribune

By Paul Huttner of Minnesota Public Radio News - February 18, 2020

It’s happening. 

Are your early mornings getting brighter now? Have you noticed how much brighter it is on your commute home in the evening?

We’ve reached the point in Earth’s orbit where we’re rapidly hurtling toward the spring equinox. That means we’re now gaining daylight fast. Starting this week, daylight increases at the rate of three minutes per day in Minnesota. 

Check out the Twin Cities solar data from

Solar data for the Twin Cities
Solar data for the Twin Cities

We’ve already gained almost two hours of daylight since the December solstice. We gain about another 90 minutes in the next month. 

  • Dec. 21: Eight hours 46 minutes

  • Feb. 18: 10 hours 34 minutes

  • March 17: 12 hours one minute

Higher sun angle

The sun angle in the sky is also steadily rising now. The sun was just 23 degrees above the horizon at noon in late December. It’s now 33 degrees. And it will reach 45 degrees on March 21.

1 sun angles
NOAA Image: Huttner, Paul

That extra solar energy is now much more effective at melting snow, or the ice at your local ice rink.

It’s just a matter of a few weeks now before the more intense spring sunshine begins to modify the air masses of spring.

To read the original article and see other environmental related reporting, follow this link to the MPR News website.

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