What Time Does it Get Dark?

So What Time Does it Get Dark? Understanding how long it takes for it to grow dark can be far more involved than you might imagine, and the topic depends on a variety of elements, such as distance to the Equator, altitudes, and seasons. Read through to get full information on this topic.

What Time Does it Get Dark?

How Long Does it Take to get Dark after Sunset?

When observing a sunset, you may notice that it does not totally darken. Again, this is because of our planet’s spherical shape.

Even after the sun has set on our horizon, it continues to shine on the Earth’s atmosphere above the surface. This is due to light interacting with various gas molecules, causing it to disperse.

This phase of the night sky is known as twilight. There are three stages of twilight:

1. Civil Twilight

The civil twilight period begins at sunset and lasts until the Sun’s center is 6o below the horizon. Objects are still visible on the ground during this period, and artificial lighting is not required if there is no fog.

During this golden hour, astronomers may readily detect Mercury and Venus. This is also when photographers capture stunning images without the use of artificial lighting. Civil twilight is referred to as the “golden hour” or “magic hour.”

 During this time, the diffraction of solar light causes white light to transition to reds, and the clouds take on a series of distinct yellow, orange, red, pink, purple, and blue colors.


Nautical Twilight

This phase begins when the Sun’s geometric center is between 6o and 12o below the horizon. Most of the stars are visible to the naked eye. Photographers can still snap pictures, but they will be dark and fuzzy.

The term “nautical” refers to sailors who can navigate by starlight and the still visible horizon. The nautical twilight is an excellent moment to study the Moon’s dark side, which is normally obscured by the Sun’s shadow.

The arrangement of the Earth and Sun during this twilight phase permits the Sun’s rays to be reflected off the Earth and onto the Moon (they know this phenomenon as Earthshine).

Astronomical Twilight

Astronomical Twilight

Astronomical twilight begins when the Sun’s center reaches 12o and lasts until 18o. The genuine night begins after this period, although the two stages are extremely similar for some newcomers.

Astronomical dusk is an excellent time for astronomers to study the sky, as well as for astrophotography.

Normal photographers cannot capture decent images unless they aim for an illuminated metropolis.  Objects are barely distinguishable, and colors are invisible.

The True Night-Time

Understanding what time it is at night can be very simple. The genuine night begins when all of the twilight stages have passed. Essentially, the night is complete blackness, as there is no light pollution from the Sun.

The optimum time to observe the stars is at night, and an astronomer should wait until he can no longer see the Sun’s waning light at the horizon.

They define the night as the time when the Sun’s center is between 18o and 90o below the horizon. It is crucial to note that various factors affect the nighttime, including position relative to the equator and seasons.


Proximity to the Equator and Location

The latitude is one of the most important elements influencing the length of the night. Those living near the equator (latitude 0o) may note that night arrives significantly sooner.

The Sun takes a more gentle slant through the sky closer to the poles, hence it takes longer to get dark. Aside from closeness to the equator, height is another issue to consider. Sunsets can later be seen in high mountains as the horizon lowers.

In the alpine area, they also observed an amazing phenomenon: double sunset. The Sun disappears after a section of the mountain, only to resurface on another before setting.

So What Time Does it Get Dark?

What Time Does it Get Dark?

In short, it takes between 70 and 140 minutes for the Sun to pass through 18o below the horizon and enter the night phase. Closer to the equator, though, the timing would be roughly 23 minutes.

When we look at some figures during the March equinox, when everyone’s day time is the same, we can see that it gets darker faster at the equator than it does up north.

  • Quito, Ecuador – true night – 19:33 (+68 minutes)
  • Kansas, USA – true night – 21:02 (+90 minutes)
  • Anchorage Alaska, USA – true night – 22:53 (+155 minutes)

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What Time Does it Get Dark?

it takes anywhere from 70 to 100 minutes for it to get dark after sunset. The further north you are, the longer it takes for true darkness to arrive after sundown.

2. At What Time is it Darkest Outside?

Midnight. This describes when the sun is farthest below the horizon and corresponds with when the sky is darkest. 

3. Is it Totally Dark at Sunset?

it takes anywhere from 70 to 100 minutes for it to get dark after sunset. The further north you are, the longer it takes for true darkness to arrive after sundown.

4. Is Sunset still Light?

To put it simply, even when the sun as disappeared below the horizon it is still emitting light. The emitted light is still traveling towards the earth.

5. Why is the Sky Pink?

Well, when the sun sets, it is lower down and the light has further to travel. Light comprises all different colours – that’s why we get rainbows. 

6. Why is the Sun White?

When we direct solar rays through a prism, we see all the colors of the rainbow come out the other end. That’s to say we see all the colors that are visible to the human eye.

7. What’s the Sun’s Real Name?

Many names have been given to the Sun. The Latin term for Sun is “sol,” which is also the fundamental adjective for everything related to the Sun.

8. What Color is Space?

If we total up all the light from galaxies (and the stars within them), as well as all the clouds of gas and dust in the Universe, we get a color that is very close to white, but also a touch ‘beige.’

So What Time Does it Get Dark? We all know that the sunrise or dawn is when the sun rises and the sunset is when it sets. But what if we need to refer to a more precise time?

Knowing precisely where the Sun is in the sky, for example, is essential for astronomers at the Royal Observatory Greenwich when determining whether they will see a certain celestial event.

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