It’s dark most of the time at this time of year, but we’re gaining daylight. The rate of gain is about two minutes a day – a minute earlier sunrise and a minute later sunset each day compared to the day before. That rate of change is accelerating, too, says Lee Carkner, director of the John Deere Planetarium at Augustana College in Rock Island.

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“The rate at which the daylight changes depends on where you are in the cycle. In spring and fall, at the equinoxes, when the day and night is equal in lengths is when the change occurs most rapidly, and then in winter and summer it occurs more slowly. That’s a little hard to visualize, but it’s due to the geometry of the situation,” he said.

A 5 p.m. sunset has reached Western Illinois as of this weekend. It’ll be next weekend before the sun sets that late in the eastern part of the state.

(Illinois Radio Network)