Q:

# How long does it take the sun to set once it touches the horizon?

A:

Once the sun touches the horizon, it takes approximately 2 to 3 minutes to go below the horizon. This is dependent on several factors, including latitude, time of year and atmospheric thickness.

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As the earth rotates, the sun appears to travel across the sky at a rate of 1 degree per 5.6 minutes. The disc of the sun measures approximately half a degree in diameter. Latitude, however, plays a big part in this; the closer to the equator, the more directly and quickly the sun sets. The thickness of the atmosphere that the sun's light has to travel at the horizon also alters the amount of time it takes for the sun to set. At latitudes further from the equator, sunlight has more atmosphere to travel through and thus appears to move more slowly.

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## Related Questions

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It takes the Earth approximately 365.25 days to complete one revolution around the sun. The extra quarter of a day that is gained each year is why a leap year is added to the calendar every four years. The day added in a leap year is February 29.

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The sun appears to set when it vanishes over the western horizon as the Earth rotates away from the sun. Depending on the Earth's tilt at a particular time of year, the sun sets either slightly north or south of due west.

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