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

Friday, December 10, 2010

Afternoons are Getting Longer

Believe it or not, although the shortest day of the year is still 11 days away, the afternoons begin to get longer in Toronto ON starting today.  The sun will set later each day beginning Dec 10/10 and we will gain about 10 more minutes of afternoon light by the end of the month. 

Cheers, Ralph

Monday, November 8, 2010

Pedestrians and cyclists, be aware of where the sun is!

Pedestrians and cyclists, be aware of where the sun is!  Drivers may not be able to see you - especially in the first and last hour or so of daylight.

Cheers, Ralph

Friday, November 5, 2010

Daylight Saving Time Ends

Drivers beware. After the time change this weekend the sun's location will shift and glare may affect you differently on your daily commute.

Cheers, Ralph

Monday, November 1, 2010

November 2010 Sunrise/Sunset Tables

Sample sunrise/sunset tables for select cities in Canada, the US, the Middle East and Haiti have been posted for November 2010. The tables include the times of rise and set as well as the time of solar noon and the total number of daylight hours for each day of the month.

If your location is not one of the samples, contact us for a free table for your location for this month.

Visit to view our samples or to order your specific table.

If you prefer, our tables can be prepared showing the sun's direction at rise and set (instead of the time of solar noon and the total number of daylight hours).

Cheers, Ralph

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Halloween Sunset Times

We have posted 2010 Halloween sunset times for select Canadian and US cities on our web site.  To view the list click the pumpkin or follow the link below.

Cheers, Ralph

Monday, July 12, 2010

Air India Memorial Sundial Repaired in Time for 25th Anniversary Ceremonies

In early 2007 we had the privilege of designing the sundial feature for the Air India Flight 182 Memorial in Toronto.  The sundial was unveiled by Prime Minister Stephen Harper on June 23, 2007, the 22nd anniversary of the bombing.

And on June 23, 2010, the Prime Minister was again on hand, this time for the 25th anniversary ceremony.

Five day later, on June 28, 2010, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited the memorial and participated in a private remembrance with representative victims' family members.

Although the sundial had been vandalized in the Spring of 2010, repairs were made just in time for the 25th anniversary.  For further information about the Air India Memorial Sundial see the following:

Design -

Vandalism -

25th Anniversary -

Cheers, Ralph

Monday, July 5, 2010 Home Page Now Available in Mobile Format

We have recently created a version of our home page suitable for viewing on mobile devices.  The address is as follows:

I welcome your comments and suggestions regarding the format of the mobile home page.  Feedback can be posted here, or you may email me privately at

Cheers, Ralph

Friday, March 19, 2010

Peak UV Times

Our sunrise/sunset tables can be used to determine the time of peak UV radiation in your area.  Simply look up the time of Solar Noon on our tables - this happens to coincide with peak UV time.  Just remember to add one hour to our tables if Daylight Time is in effect.

Take precautions 2-1/2 hours either side of solar noon.  For example, solar noon occurs in Toronto tomorrow at 1:25 p.m. EDT, therefore, the danger period runs from about 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

For a free sun table for the current month in your location visit our Sun Tables page at

Environment Canada states:
  • "The amount of UV you receive depends on both the strength of the sun's rays (measured by the UV Index) and the amount of time you spend in the sun. Reduce your time in the sun – seek shade, particularly between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. from April to September.
  • Cover up, wear a broad-brimmed hat, a shirt with long sleeves and wrap-around sunglasses or ones with side shields
  • Use sunscreen – with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher, with both UVA and UVB protection. Apply generously before going outside, and reapply often, especially after swimming or exercise
  • Listen for Environment Canada’s UV Index – it’s included in your local weather forecast whenever it is forecast to reach 3 (moderate) or more that day."
For more info and tips on UV protection from Environment Canada, visit  

Cheers, Ralph 

Friday, March 12, 2010

Daylight Saving Time

For those of you in North American jurisdictions that observe Daylight Saving Time, don't forget to 'spring' your clocks forward one hour this Saturday night! Official time change occurs at 2:00 a.m. local time on Sunday, March 14th.

Starting in 2007, daylight time begins in North America on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November. On the second Sunday in March, clocks are set ahead one hour at 2:00 a.m. local standard time, which becomes 3:00 a.m. local daylight time. On the first Sunday in November, clocks are set back one hour at 2:00 a.m. local daylight time, which becomes 1:00 a.m. local standard time.

Not all places in the U.S. observe daylight time. In particular, Hawaii and most of Arizona do not use it. Indiana adopted its use beginning in 2006. In Canada, most of Saskatchewan, parts of Quebec, and Southampton Island in Nunavut do not observe daylight time.

Year   Begin        End
2007   March 11   November 4
2008   March 9     November 2
2009   March 8     November 1
2010   March 14   November 7
2011   March 13   November 6
2012   March 11   November 4
2013   March 10   November 3
2014   March 9     November 2
2015   March 8     November 1

Source: USNO and National Research Council Canada

Thursday, February 4, 2010

SunChips Solar Billboard

In early 2008, we were retained by BBDO (Toronto) to design a solar-powered billboard (actually a shadow-animated billboard) for a Frito-Lay SunChips ad campaign by Juniper Park.  The time-lapse video below shows the Sunchips Solar Billboard which was installed in Oakland California on Earth Day 2008 to mark the opening of the solar-powered SunChips plant in nearby Modesto.

View time-lapse video by clicking picture below.

Congratulations to Toronto ad agency Juniper Park, who on January 28, 2010, took home the 2009 Cassies Grand Prix for their SunChips ad campaign. You can read about it here.

Cheers, Ralph

Monday, February 1, 2010

Sunrise/Sunset Tables for February 2010

Our free sample sunrise/sunset tables for February 2010 have been posted. The tables include the times of rise and set as well as the time of solar noon and the total number of daylight hours for each day of the month.  Click here to view, download and print the tables.

Cheers, Ralph

Friday, January 22, 2010

Rate of Change in Daylight Hours

Although we can still expect a lot of winter weather ahead of us, the days are getting noticeably longer.  For example, Toronto will receive 54 more minutes of daylight per day at the end of January as compared to the beginning.  February will add another 1 hour 18 minutes per day.  A welcome change!!

Locations further south already enjoy more daylight than Toronto and their temperatures are warmer, however, they don't receive an increase in the hours of daylight to the extent that Toronto does.  For example, Miami will receive only 26 more minutes of daylight per day at the end of January as compared to the beginning, and February will bring only 38 minutes more.

Cheers, Ralph

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haiti - Daylight Availability

We have posted a free sunrise/sunset table for Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in support of those involved in rescue and relief work. The table provides rise and set times and the total number of hours of available sunlight for each day of the current month.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Definition of Sunrise/Sunset Times

The times of sunrise and sunset are by definition the times at which the upper edge of the sun appears on the horizon.  This assumes an observer on level ground with an unobstructed view to the horizon.  Official times take into account refraction (yes, light bends around the edge of the earth) under average atmospheric conditions.  When the top edge of the sun appears on the horizon, it is actually already about 34 minutes of arc below the horizon - that is, we can still see it, but it is actually below the horizon.

It is important to remember that rise/set times vary from place to place - they are very location-specific and it is not sufficient to look up the rise and set times for a place other than your own, and then to assume it applies for you.  If your location is not one of the samples posted on our web site, let us know and we will send you the rise/set times for the current month for your location for free. 

See for details.

Cheers, Ralph

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Vancouver 2010 Olympics Sun Tables

Free sunrise/sunset tables have been added for those of you visiting Vancouver or Whistler BC during the Olympics and Paralympics in February and March of this year.

February - Vancouver; Whistler

These are technical, or official, times of rise and set based on an observer with an unobstructed view to a level horizon.  Local apparent times may vary - especially if the sun rises or sets behind mountains.

Cheers, Ralph