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About the Sunrise & Sunset pages

Each location in our database has a Sun section offering information about rise/set times and headings, daylength, twilight phases, and more. To access it, click on the blue “Sun & Moon” tab underneath the map on any City Information Page, then click on the link “Sunrise & Sunset” in the line below. It is also possible to access the pages via the Sun Calculator.

Note: This page offers extensive information in text form. For a more graphic representation of the Sun's movements on the current date, see the Sun & Moon Today page or the Day and Night World Map.

Selecting location and date

To obtain Sun information for a different location, type a city name into the search field below the yellow band near the top of the page. To see the table for a different month, use the drop-down menus just above the table and click the green “Go” button.

Core data at a glance

The yellow band near the top of the page contains the most important Sun information for the current date:

The “Sunrise/set” column

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The “Sunrise/set” column with azimuths

Each row in the table shows data for the date specified in the first column on the left.

The “Sunrise/set” column shows when the Sun rises and sets. The arrows and angles show the azimuths (horizontal headings) of sunrise and sunset. Hover over an entry for more information. Sunrise is the time when the upper part of the Sun is visible, and sunset is when the last part of the Sun is about to disappear below the horizon (in clear weather conditions).

The times for sunrise and sunset are based on the ideal situation, where no hills or mountains obscure the view and the flat horizon is at the same altitude as the observer. If the horizon in the direction of sunrise or sunset is at a higher altitude than that of the observer, the sunrise will be later and sunset earlier than listed (and the reverse: on a high mountain with the horizon below the observer, the sunrise will be earlier and sunset later than listed).

The Earth's atmosphere refracts the incoming light in such a way that the Sun is visible longer than it would be without an atmosphere. The refraction depends on the atmospheric pressure and temperature. These calculations use the standard atmospheric pressure of 101.325 kilopascal and temperature of 15°C or 59°F. A higher atmospheric pressure or lower temperature than the standard means more refraction, and the sunrise will be earlier and sunset later. In most cases, however, this would affect the rising and setting times by less than a minute. Near the North and South Poles it could have greater impact because of low temperatures and the slow rate of the Sun's rising and setting.

For locations north of 66°34' N or south of 66°34' S latitude, the Sun is above the horizon all day on some days during the summer and below the horizon all day on some days during the winter.

Technically, sunrise and sunset are calculated based on the true geocentric position of the Sun at 90°50' from the zenith position (directly above the observer).

Sunrise and Sunset Azimuth

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The “Daylength” column

The azimuth displayed is the horizontal direction of the Sun at sunrise and sunset. As on a compass, the azimuth is measured in degrees, with 360 in a full circle, counted in a clockwise direction from north. North has an azimuth value of 0 degrees, east is 90 degrees, south is 180 degrees, and west is 270 degrees. A small arrow is displayed to indicate the map direction where the Sun will rise or set (for a map where north is upward).

Since the times used for the sunrise and sunset calculations are also used for the azimuth calculation, the actual height of the horizon and refraction as described above can influence the real direction where the Sun rises or sets.

The directions refer to true north and not to magnetic north. True north refers to north according to the Earth’s axis, magnetic north refers to the direction in which the north end of a compass needle will point in response to the Earth’s magnetic field.

The “Daylength” column

Length of day consists of two columns. “Length” shows the time from sunrise to sunset on that day; “Diff.” shows the difference in daylength compared with the previous date. The duration is shown in the hh:mm:ss format where h stands for hours, m for minutes, and s for seconds. The difference is shown in minutes and seconds, with a plus sign (+) if this day is longer than the previous and a minus sign (−) if it is shorter.

Because of rounding, there may be a 1-second discrepancy between the “Length” and “Diff.” values.

The “Twilight” columns

The three twilight columns show the start and end times for astronomical twilight (“Astro. Twilight”), nautical twilight (“Naut. Twilight”), and civil twilight (“Civil Twilight”). Each start time refers to dawn, the end times occur at dusk; the times are not listed in a chronological order but the start and end times for each phase are grouped together. For an illustration of the twilight phases throughout the day, see “Today's Light Map” on the Sun & Moon Today page.

Astronomical twilight

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The “Twilight” columns

During this phase, the center of the Sun is between 12 and 18 degrees below the horizon. It starts at astronomical dawn, early in the morning when the Sun is higher than 18 degrees below the horizon. From this point, it will be difficult to observe certain faint stars, galaxies, and other objects because the Sun starts to illuminate the sky. Astronomical twilight ends at astronomical dusk in the late evening, when those faint objects again can be visible because the Sun is lower than 18 degrees below the horizon. In locations north of 48°34' N or south of 48°34' S latitude, it never gets darker than this near the middle of the summer solstice (June or December).

Technically, the start and end times are when the true geocentric position of the Sun is 108 degrees from the zenith position (directly above the observer).

Nautical Twilight

Nautical twilight is the period when the center of the Sun is between 6 and 12 degrees below the horizon, when bright stars are still visible in clear weather and the horizon is becoming visible. It is too dark for outdoor activities without additional lighting.

In the morning, nautical twilight starts at nautical dawn, when the Sun rises above 12 degrees below the horizon; it ends when the Sun's center reaches 6 degrees below the horizon. In the evening, nautical twilight begins when the Sun sinks below 6 degrees; it ends at nautical dusk, when the Sun is lower than 12 degrees below the horizon.

For locations north of 54°34' N or south of 54°34' S latitude, the Sun will never be lower than 12 degrees below the horizon for a period in the summer.

Technically, the start and end times are when the true geocentric position of the Sun is 102 degrees from the zenith position (directly above the observer).

Civil twilight

Civil twilight is the period when the Sun is below the horizon but its center is less than 6 degrees below. This phase begins at civil dawn when the center of the Sun rises above 6 degrees below the horizon; it ends at dusk or civil dusk when the Sun passes 6 degrees below the horizon in the evening.

During civil twilight, the sky is still illuminated, and with clear weather it is brightest in the direction of the Sun. The Moon and the brightest stars and planets may be visible. It is usually bright enough for outdoor activities without additional lighting.

Near the equator, where the Sun sets and rises in an almost vertical direction, the civil twilight period can last only 21 minutes, a very fast nightfall compared to the much longer periods in southern and northern latitudes. In regions north of 60°24' N or south of 60°24' S latitude, there will be at least one night when it does not get darker than this.

Technically, the start and end times are when the true geocentric position of the Sun is 96 degrees from the zenith position (directly above the observer).

The “Solar noon” column

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The “Solar noon” column with altitudes

This column shows the time of solar noon as well as the Sun's maximum altitude and its distance from Earth. Solar noon refers to the point in time when the Sun passes the meridian (longitude). This means that it stands directly north, overhead or south as seen from the selected location. It is the time of day when the Sun reaches its highest point in the sky (except near the South and North Poles where the altitude increases or decreases all day and night).

The “Time” column shows when solar noon occurs on that day (local time). Its maximum altitude is displayed in brackets next to the time. This value refers to the altitude of the Sun's center above the ideal horizon at that moment. The altitude takes into account typical refraction in the Earth's atmosphere. If the Sun is below the horizon all day, the altitude is labeled “below”.

The column “Mil. km” / “Mil. mi” shows the distance from the Earth's center to the Sun's center in millions of kilometers or millions of miles, depending on the user's settings. Subtract 660,000 kilometers or 410,104 miles to get the approximate distance between the surfaces of the two bodies. The distance varies because the Earth's orbit is elliptical rather than circular. The Sun is closest on perihelion, around January 3, and most distant on aphelion, around July 5. The mean distance is 149,600,000 kilometers or 92,960,000 miles.

To switch between kilometers and miles, make a selection in the “Distance/Visibility” drop-down menu in the Site Configuration Menu.

The distance to the Sun does not have as great an impact on the seasons as does the tilt of the Earth's axis. During the summer on the Northern Hemisphere, that hemisphere is tilted toward the sun. This means a longer day (more sunlight) and light rays striking the Earth's surface at higher angles, giving more intensive sunlight and more energy per square meter, compared with a location at the same distance from the equator on the Southern Hemisphere.

Accuracy

Times are rounded to the nearest minute and should generally match closely with those listed in the annual Astronomical Almanac by H.M. Nautical Almanac Office in the U.K. and the United States Naval Observatory.

A sample set of 150 records consisting of times for sunrise, sunset, and start and end times for civil, nautical, and astronomical twilight was compared with times listed in The Astronomical Almanac for 2007. Only two differed, both by only one minute, which means that just over 1.3 percent were different in that sample set.

Because times are calculated in local time, there is a chance that future times may be wrong, as changes might be made to dates of Daylight Saving Time or in the local time zone.

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