Earliest fireworks - solving the sunset problem

(Updated. Thanks q) What place in America has the earliest sunset—local time? This is a really important question for the upcoming 4th of July; because an earlier sunset means earlier fireworks fun! Who can stay up for fireworks that start at 11:00pm? Zzzzz. As America ages (and gets tired earlier), we need to look for places with the earliest possible sunsets. But where in America does the sun set the earliest? (according to local time, that is)

This was a much harder question to answer than I originally expected. In Alaska and Hawaii, you just go to the easternmost point—easy. But in the rest of the nation, it's way more complicated. That's because the easternmost point of a time zone is not necessarily the place where the sun sets the earliest. Remember, in midsummer, the days are really long in the far north, and get gradually shorter as you move south. So you need an algorithm to figure this out. Or you can just check a lot of places—that's what I did. (Ironically, the best site to find sunset times for your Independence day pyrotechnics.... is run by the British.)

The winner is Sneads, Florida, with a 7:47 sunset on July 4th. However, if you live in the northeast and can't make it to Sneads, Quoddy Head State Park in Hogwarts Maine will have to suffice, with a 8:17 sunset. Folks in the mountain region will have to settle for Syracuse, Kansas with an 8:13 mark. Californians can do a little better by driving out to Parker Dam and a 7:53 sunset. Of course, I'm not a professional sunsetologist. If you have better information, please add your comments.

4 comments:

  1. In addition to not being a professional sunsetologist, you fail at mapping today. Unless, of course, there is a lost portion of Nebraska in Kansas...

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  2. And unless Quoddy doesn't honor DST, it should see sunset at 8:17. Head to Miami for EDT with an 8:16 sunset.

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  3. I'm afraid you've made a critical error. See that big shaded part of Arizona (all the state except the Navajo Nation in the northeast)? That's the part that doesn't observe Daylight Savings Time. So on July 4, they're on Mountain Standard Time, which is equivalent to Pacific Daylight Time. Since the eastern border of the state runs north-south, the earliest sunset there would be in the southeast corner of the state.

    In the actual southeast corner of the state, sunset is at 7:25 MST on July 4. If you want an actual municipality, Douglas has a 7:27 MST sunset.

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  4. Yep, I figured an Arizona-savvy reader might weigh in. Thanks!

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