Blog Description - A collection of media articles and tweets highlighting 1) the dangers of sun glare while driving, 2) the issue of shadowing due to urban development, and 3) random fun sun facts.

Blog Purpose and Disclaimer - This blog compiles and shares public interest stories in an effort to educate and raise awareness. Sources, credits and links are provided for articles and images, and it is my belief that this blog complies with the fair dealing exception in Canada's Copyright Act. However, if you wish your item removed, simply ask.

Cheers, Ralph Bouwmeester

Monday, October 25, 2021

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Torontohenge 2021

Torontohenge is the name given for the phenomenon that occurs four times per year when the sun rises or sets in line with Toronto's major east-west streets downtown.  The event, twice per year at sunrise, and twice at sunset, gives photographers great opportunities to capture the sun as its top edge grazes the horizon between the canyon walls of buildings on either side of the street. 

Photo courtesy of Rudy Limeback @rudydotca

Although Torontohenge technically falls on the dates given below, great photos can be taken for about a week before the August and October dates and a week after the February and April dates as the rising/setting sun passes over the street.  Not great for driving, but quite a sight just the same.

The Torontohenge dates for 2021 are:

February 15  -  5:48 PM EST

April 19  -  6:28 AM EDT

August 23  -  6:31 AM EDT

October 25  -  6:18 PM EDT

See monthly Toronto sunrise and sunset times here...

Warning for Drivers and Pedestrians
Despite the opportunities for photographers, conditions for motorists and pedestrians may be difficult for a week or more after the February and April dates and before the October and August dates.  NOTE:  The first and last hours of daylight are typically the worst.  Be prepared, and be extra careful.

Cheers, Ralph

Sunday, October 4, 2020

2020 Halloween Sunset Times


Stay safe everyone.

Cheers, Ralph

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Human Sundial Project for Kids

During these challenging times, here's a fun and simple outdoor project to do with your kids as the weather improves.  Not only is it fun, it is very educational. This project will demonstrate how the sun moves east to west through the day, and how its height changes with the seasons.

Hope this brightens your day a bit!

What you will need...
  1. a watch or a clock
  2. an open area of lawn (ideally at least 6m x 1.5m  (20' x 5') for the sundial to work between 10 AM and 5 PM)
  3. stones (size is up to you) or other markers, 16 for the hours between sunrise and sunset in June
  4. a shadow-caster, your child
How to make your sundial...
  1. head outside and place two stones to mark the spot for the shadow-caster to stand
  2. have the shadow-caster stand facing north (roughly) with their toes just touching the two stones
  3. wait for the top of an hour (e.g. 8, 9, 10, etc.) and place a stone at the tip of the shadow
  4. repeat Step 3 each hour on the hour  (See Figures below to see how your sundial will look when done.)
  5. if you like, paint the hour number on each stone
As an alternative to the above, you can use chalk in your driveway, or a sheet of paper and a small stick, etc.

A time-lapse animation is provided below the Figures showing how your shadow will move during the day.

See our time-lapse animation.

  1. Since the sun runs slightly ahead of or behind your watch time, depending on the time of year, you may want to adjust your sundial every couple of weeks or so.  Simple fix, move the stones to match your watch.
  2. Probably more noticable than the sundial running fast or slow, the shadows will begin to get shorter as we approach the summer solstice (June 20 in 2020).  Again, you can simply move the stones to match your watch.
  3. If you like, gather up more stones and add another row next month (preferably on the same day of the month), and the  month after that, etc.  In this way, you can see how much higher the sun gets between now and the first day of summer.
  4. After the first day of summer, you will notice the shadows getting longer again.
Cheers, Ralph

Monday, March 2, 2020

Sun Glare and Traffic Safety – February 2020

Cheers, Ralph

Sun and Shade in Urban Development – February 2020

Cheers, Ralph

Miscellaneous Sun and Shadow Items – February 2020

Cheers, Ralph