日本一早い日の出は北海道?

標準

「日の出は東から、日の入りは西へ」そう理科で習ったとおり、太陽は東から昇り一日が始まります。では、日本の最東端にある北海道は、日の出が早いのでしょうか? 日の出・日の入りの時刻は経度だけではなく、緯度も関係があります。
「経度・緯度とは?」と思った方にわかりやすく言うと、地球儀を見たときに縦線が経度、横線が緯度です。北海道の経度はより東へ、緯度はより北へ位置するので、本州とは季節の特徴が若干変わってきます。一年で昼間の時間が最も長いといわれる夏至の、日の出・日の入り時間を各都市で比べてみると一目瞭然です。次の時刻は海上保安庁のHPで公開されているものです。

《札幌》 日の出/3:55 日の入り/19:18

《東京》 日の出/4:25 日の入り/19:01

《福岡》 日の出/5:08 日の入り/19:32

夏至の時期は、日の出は北東方角に行くほど早くなります。上の時刻一覧のとおり、夏の北海道は朝がとても早く来ます。道東では、深夜3時前にはもう外が白んでくるといいます。本州からすると不思議な時間感覚になりそう…!夏至の頃に北海道へ行くなら、道東の本土最東端の地・納沙布岬(のさっぷみさき)で日本一早い日の出を拝んでみてはいかがでしょうか。
ところで、日の入り時刻を比べるとほんの数十分の差ですが、これには緯度が関係しています。夏は地軸の傾きで南にいくほど昼間の時間は短くなるため、福岡での昼間が短すぎて札幌の日没時間に追いついている状態なのです。夏の北海道旅行は、明るい時間が長いのでお得ですね。 石狩郡当別町では、毎年この時期に「夏至まつり」を開催します。
姉妹都市であるスウェーデン王国レクサンド市の「ミドソンマル(夏至祭)」を再現した、友好の証です。北欧の夏至は真夜中も太陽が出る白夜となり、冬の長い北欧圏の国にとっては盛大な祝賀なのです。祭りでは、民族衣装に身を包み、フォークダンスやマイストング(大柱)の立ち上げ儀式などが行われます。北海道に居ながら、異国情緒が味わえるお祭りです。

夏至では納沙布岬が日本一早い日の出の場所ですが、初日の出も日本一早いのでしょうか? 残念ながら、初日の出を一番に拝める場所は、千葉県の「犬吠岬」です(本土の平地の場合)。最東端でもない千葉がなぜ?と思いますが、これにも地軸の傾きが影響しており、冬は南東方角に行くほど日の出の時刻が早くなるためなのです。 国立天文台の資料によると、元日の日の出時刻は 《千葉県犬吠岬》 6:46 《北海道納沙布岬》 6:49 となっています。3分ほどの差ですが、惜しくも1位に届きません。

さらに道民にはショックなことに(?)犬吠岬の日の出時刻が早いのは、冬至の頃、11月下旬から1月末までの約55日間だけです。それ以外の2月~11月下旬までの約310日間は納沙布岬の日の出が早いのに、初日の出だけ千葉県に1位を譲るかたちになっています。でも宇宙の仕組みだからこればかりは仕方ありませんね。小さなこだわりはひとまず置いといて、新年が良い年となるように願い、初日の出を拝みたいものです。

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