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

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Torontohenge October 2019 – Best Photo Ops

The last Torontohenge of 2019 is coming up…

Save the date... 

October 26, 2019 - Sunset 6:17 PM EDT

Torontohenge is the name given for the phenomenon that occurs when the sun rises or sets in line with Toronto's major east-west streets downtown, giving photographers a great opportunity 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 for 2019, 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 sun hovers directly above the street.  Not great for driving, but quite a sight just the same.

The Torontohenge dates for 2019 are:

Feb 15

5:48 PM
Apr 19
6:29 AM
Aug 24
6:32 AM
Oct 26

6:17 PM

So, since the sun currently sets north of the streets looking west, great pictures can be taken between now (Oct 17) and Oct 26th as the sun crosses the street just before sunset.

Toronto sunset times between October 17th and 26th range from 6:31 to 6:17 PM EDT, that is, about 1-1/2 minutes earlier per day.

See Toronto sunrise and sunset times here...

Warning for Drivers
Despite the opportunities for photographers, driving conditions for westbound motorists may be difficult for several weeks prior to October 26th due to glare from the sun prior to sunset.  The last hour of daylight is typically the worst.  Be prepared and extra careful.

Cheers, Ralph

2019 Halloween Sunset Times

Friday, October 4, 2019

Sun Glare and Traffic Safety – September 2019

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Sun and Shade in Urban Development – September 2019

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Miscellaneous Sun and Shadow Items – September 2019

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Thursday, September 19, 2019

Sun Glare and Traffic Safety – August 2019

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Sun and Shade in Urban Development – August 2019

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Miscellaneous Sun and Shadow Items – August 2019

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Thursday, August 1, 2019

Sun Glare and Traffic Safety – July 2019

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Sun and Shade in Urban Development – July 2019

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Miscellaneous Sun and Shadow Items – July 2019

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Friday, July 5, 2019

Sun Glare and Traffic Safety – June 2019

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Sun and Shade in Urban Development – June 2019

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Miscellaneous Sun and Shadow Items – June 2019

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Sunday, June 9, 2019

Sun Glare and Traffic Safety – May 2019

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Sun and Shade in Urban Development – May 2019

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Miscellaneous Sun and Shadow Items – May 2019

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Friday, May 3, 2019

Sun Glare and Traffic Safety – April 2019

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Sun and Shade in Urban Development – April 2019

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Miscellaneous Sun and Shadow Items – April 2019

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Monday, April 8, 2019

Sun Glare Poses Special Challenge to Drivers

by  Debbie Lazaga Wisconsin's Radio Station

March 18, 2019

(Re-printed with permission.  Click here for original article.)

sun glare view from car

(RBA File Photo)

Look, we're not complaining, at least we shouldn't be. We've gone WEEKS without seeing hide nor hair of our big yellow fireball in the sky, but let's face it, depending on your commute direction, sun glare can be a real problem.

"The definition of sun glare is brightness from the sun that affects your ability to see when you're driving." explains Ralph Bouwmeester, a principal at R. Bouwmeester and Associates, a Canadian firm that specializes sun and shadow position modeling for urban planning.

He also says departments of transportation have options to help.

"Based on accident records and finding out that people couldn't see and it was attributed to sun glare, [some Departments of Transportation] have actually installed signage; warning signs to be aware of the potential for sun glare coming up. And it may be for a period of a few weeks in October or March."
There are even a few things car manufacturers can do to help, like change up the materials of our dashboards.

"People like to get their polish out and clean the dashboard and shine it up. And really that's one of the worst things you can do because the sun will reflect off of the dashboard and make things worse." says Bouwmeester.

Ideally, the best type of dashboard would be one made with black felt, where nothing will reflect and it's a dark color.

"But to keep the shine down is, I guess, a recommendation I would make. To not use those kinds of cleaning products on your dashboard." Bouwmeester says.
But outside of making sweeping changes to car designs, there are other things you can do to help deal with sun glare.

"I think that every driver should be equipped with a pair of polarized sunglasses. The polarized lens actually is going to decrease the intensity of the source of the glare because it's a tinted lens, so it's blocking some of that intense light. And then also the polarized lens eliminates glare off of reflective surfaces.  I think some of the biggest tips you can give people is just making sure that their windshields are clean. I mean if you look at what the first thing the light is actually hitting before it gets to your eyes is that plane of glass. So if that windshield is not an optically clean surface, you're going to have a lot of issues with the glare because all the build up and dirt, grime and debris on that windshield do act as sources of light scatter and increase the amount of glare that you're experiencing." explains Dr. Justin Bazan, medical advisor to the Vision Council.
So let's recap:
1) Grab your sunglasses
2) Don't shine your dashboard
3) Use the blue juice to keep your windshield clean. 

Dr. Bazan also says, "It's usually about the time of day and the activities we're doing. So we know that sun that's directly in the visual access close to the horizon, such as in the early morning hours and then later on in the day, is going to be the most debilitating, so the sun that's directly in your line of sight."

So maybe shifting your departure time by say 15 minutes might be enough to help ward off the blinding effects of the sun.

Cheers, Ralph

Friday, April 5, 2019

Sun Glare and Traffic Safety – March 2019

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