Moscow got only 6 minutes of sunlight in December

January 18, 2018, 12:41 p.m.
St. Basil's Cathedral at night on Jan. 2, 2018.
Photo: Kapustin Igor/Shutterstock

Many of us are used to short days and dark winters. We've come to accept that the sun will set at 4:30 p.m., so we take advantage of those glorious sunlit hours with chilly outdoor lunches and brisk walks in the afternoon.

Residents of Moscow, however, were not so lucky in December 2017. The Russian capital saw a grand total of six minutes of sunlight last month thanks to a seemingly endless amount of cloud cover.

Six. Minutes.

Moscow typically averages 18 hours of sunlight in December.

This was the darkest the capital has been since the city started keeping sunlight records, according to The New York Times. The previous record-holder was December 2000, when the sun was visible for only three hours.

One of the results of so little sunshine was apparently a surge in psychiatric visits, according to the daily newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets, as reported by The Times.

"When they hear about [the lack of sunlight], many people say, 'It's clear now why I was depressed,'" said Roman Vilfand, the director of Russia's Weather Service, according to the news agency Tass.

December's over, but the good people of Moscow can't break out the sunglasses just yet. January is, on average, one of the gloomier months in the year (just behind December and November). Expect that run on sun lamps to continue.

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