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Looking at this myzmanim.com chart for Brooklyn, NY on 01/21/2013 it gives me the following Zmanim for Mincha Gedola.

30 fixed minutes after midday 12:37:27

Gra & Baal Tanya 12:31:53

LeChumra 12:37:27

Magen Avraham Using "Fixed 72 minutes..." 12:37:53

The Zeman for Chatzos in New York according to Rabbi Moshe Feinstein in NY is 11:56, so that would make Mincha Gedola 12:26.

Now I have observed 2 Shuls recently that started praying as early as 12:20. If I remember correctly even Ashrei is not supposed to be prior to the Zeman of Mincha Gedola. Are there any other authorities that have an earlier Zeman for Mincha Gedola?

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I know Rabbi Moshe Feinstein occasionally had a very different approach to Mincha Gedola -- I don't know exactly what it was. (Though Rabbi Hershel Schachter recalls speaking with R' Dovid Feinstein and agreeing they weren't quite sure where this view came from.) –  Shalom Jan 21 '13 at 19:56
    
I am sure there must be some earlier Zeman based on a reliable source as both these Shuls have respected Rabbis. I have been unable to ask them, however I would love to know on who this is based and what is the Zeman. –  Gershon Gold Jan 21 '13 at 20:01
    
I think something is wrong with the time given in the name of RMF in that link. See the comment I left there (once it has finished 'awaiting moderation'). –  Double AA Jan 21 '13 at 23:34
    
It seems their mods aren't as active as ours :) For now, here is my comment from there: Shalom Alecha, I’m afraid I don’t understand the astronomy here. At a given time in a given place, the sun’s apparent position will move and over the year trace out the shape of an analemma (see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analemma ). So the sun is not located due south at the same time every day, no matter where on earth you are located. –  Double AA Jan 23 '13 at 5:42
    
So, based on the teshuva in Igros Moshe they cite, it doesn't seem RMF could hold that Chatzot is at some fixed time, like 1156. –  Double AA Jan 23 '13 at 5:43
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1 Answer

If you take the 30 minutes after chatzos as a "proportional half hour", you get:

Midday .................................................... 11:56:00 plus

Proportional half hour Gra & Baal Tanya 00:24:26 (from myzemanim.com)

gives Mincha Gedola ............................... 12:20:26

Here in Manchester UK, I have noted the use of the proportional half hour for calculating Mincha Gedola in the summer (which of course makes the time later).

The Shaar Hatzion 233:8 discusses whether the half hour is Zmanios or exactly 30 minutes.

Rabbi Doniel Neustadt quotes the Luach Eretz Yisrael to say that “The custom is to figure the half hour as Zmanios”.

On the other hand, Rav David Brofsky says that “many (see Luach Eretz Yisrael, for example) add a full thirty minutes during the winter, when the sha'ot zemanniyyot are shorter.”

I don’t have the Luach to check it.

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I think you are on the right track, but RMF's premise is that the two haves of the day aren't equal. So you can't use a proportional half hour based on the full day's time. If we take sunset as 1700 (per MZ) and chatzot as 1156 (per possible RMF) then we find the time elapsed in between (ie the second half of the day) to be 304 minutes which (divided by 12) yields a "half hour" of 25.33 minutes. So 1156+25.33 = 1221.33 –  Double AA Jan 21 '13 at 23:36
    
A source for your answer would add alot of oomph. –  Gershon Gold Jan 22 '13 at 2:25
    
@GershonGold You can see from MyZmanim's page that this is how they calculate the listed Gra time for Mincha Gedola: by adding half a proportional hour to Chatzot. All Avrohom Yitzchok did was show what would happen if you vary your definition of Chatzot. –  Double AA Jan 22 '13 at 3:28
    
@GershonGold Sources added. –  Avrohom Yitzchok Jan 22 '13 at 20:35
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