Weather in the Foothills

“Dawn and dusk are mutual friends of the sun; one opens the door for him to a brand new day and the other one has to shut it to embrace the darkness of night.” ~ Author Munia Khan

 

It’s that that time of year … The sun is setting earlier and darkness falls shortly after 7 p.m. There’s a name given to the brief time in-between … twilight. Twilight is an Old English word that literally means half-light (between day and night). It’s a magical time when soft glowing watercolors light the sky as the sun sinks below the horizon. Following the heat of a summer day, it marks a time of cooling and beauty.

Summer evenings are maybe my favorite time of year. Sorry, Santa…

As with most earthly happenings there’s a scientific explanation. Why does it remain so light after the sun has set? Simply, it’s all due to the sun’s angle. The light remaining in the sky after the sun has set is called twilight. But do you know there are several types of twilight? They are civil, nautical and astronomical twilight.

Astronomers define the three stages of twilight based on how far the sun is below the horizon. Civil twilight, the brightest of the three stages, is when the sun has just set. In astronomical twilight, the sky is completely dark and the stars and planets are visible. The “not quite dark” is called nautical twilight.

The length of twilight depends on the latitude. The lower latitudes, those close to equator, have a shorter twilight than at the higher latitudes closer to the pole. For example, in Brazil darkness falls almost instantly after sunset. In the most northern parts of Canada, the sun never sets entirely: twilight can last 24 hours in the summer months.

A few days ahead of schedule, autumn weather arrives. There’s a bit of discrepancy among the NWS forecasters in Oxnard. What I gather is cooler and cloudier conditions are the more-than-likely forecast. Depending on the marine influence and strength and movement of an overhead area of low pressure, there’s a possibility of drizzle.

As with the dwindling daylight hours, the weather tells of season’s change.

Sue Kilpatrick is a Crescenta Valley resident and Official Skywarn Spotter for the
National Weather Service Reach her at suelkilpatrick@gmail.com.