"Hello, darkness, my old friend ..."

No, it's not just you. Everyone is feeling the darkness come over them a little bit earlier in the day than they would like. That's because the sun is setting in Denver at 4:35 p.m. This marks the earliest that the sun will set all year long!

But the winter solstice isn't until December 21, how can we have the earliest sunset right now?

Well, the winter solstice is the shortest day of the year in terms of daylight, but it does not have the latest sunrise nor the earliest sunset of the year. This is because of a discrepancy between our modern-day timekeeping methods and how time is measured using the sun known as the equation of time. If you look at the sunrise and sunset times for any city in the Northern Hemisphere around the December solstice, you will notice that the earliest sunset occurs a few days before the solstice and the latest sunrise happens a few days after the solstice. 

For comparison's sake, on December 4, the sun will rise at 7:05 a.m. and set at 4:35 p.m.—a total of 9 hours, 30 minutes, and 50 seconds of sunlight. But on the winter solstice, December 21, the sun will rise at 7:17 a.m. and set at 4:39 p.m.—a total of 9 hours, 21 minutes, and 16 seconds. That's nearly a 10-minute difference!

The good news is that since we're battling the earliest sunsets of the year right now, it's only a matter of time until our daylight stays longer and longer. In fact, by New Year's Eve, our sun will set a full 10 minutes later than it is right now. Now, that may not sound like much, but trust us, you'll notice.

Are you a fan of how early the sun sets in Denver, or not so much? Sound off with your thoughts in the comments below. And don't forget to share your Denver sunset photos with us!