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Why in the same time zone, Sydney and Melbourne, Sydney was in pitch black and Melbourne still had the sun above?
If you’ve ever traveled to Australia, you may have noticed something strange about the time zone. Despite being in the same time zone, Sydney and Melbourne can experience vastly different levels of sunlight at the same time. In fact, it’s not uncommon for Sydney to be in pitch black while Melbourne still has the sun above. So why does this happen?
The Longitude Difference
The answer lies in the difference in longitude between the two cities. Melbourne is located at 144.96 degrees E in longitude, while Sydney is at 151.21 degrees E. That’s a difference of 6.25 degrees in longitude.
It takes the sun 24 hours to sweep through the 360 degrees of longitude around the Earth, which means it moves at a rate of 4 minutes per degree of longitude. This means that for every degree of longitude that separates two locations, there is a time difference of approximately four minutes.
So, when it’s noon in Melbourne, the sun is at its highest point in the sky, but in Sydney, it’s only 11:56 am. This may not seem like a big difference, but over the course of the day, it can add up.
Daylight Saving Time
Another factor that can affect the amount of sunlight in each city is daylight saving time. While both Sydney and Melbourne observe daylight saving time, they do so at slightly different times.
In Sydney, daylight saving time begins on the first Sunday in October and ends on the first Sunday in April. In Melbourne, it begins on the first Sunday in October and ends on the first Sunday in April, but it starts and ends an hour earlier than in Sydney.
This means that during daylight saving time, Sydney is one hour ahead of Melbourne. So, when it’s 6 pm in Sydney, it’s only 5 pm in Melbourne. This can make a significant difference in the amount of sunlight each city receives.
Of course, weather patterns can also play a role in the amount of sunlight each city receives. For example, if a storm is passing over Sydney, it may block out the sun and make it seem darker than it actually is. Meanwhile, Melbourne may be experiencing clear skies and bright sunshine. Similarly, the position of the sun in the sky can affect how much sunlight each city receives.