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Estimating Remaining Daylight By Using Your Hand

Estimating Remaining Daylight By Using Your Hand

If you’re out in the unforgiving wilderness (or just want to get home before dark), you can easily estimate how long until the sun sets using your fingers.

All you need to do is extend your arm fully and count the number of finger widths between the sun and the horizon. Each finger is about 15 minutes, which means each hand width should be about an hour. Remember that this is just an estimate, so if you want to be conservative, make sure to give yourself a bit more time than you measure if you want to get home before dark.

It’s worth noting that the sun doesn’t set straight down. Ok, technically it sets straight down twice a year at every latitude between +23.5º and -23.5º, but it basically never sets straight down. So the actual time until sunset will always be slightly longer than this estimate, since it’s moving at a diagonal.

PS — This technique is to give you an ESTIMATE only. Helpful when planning activities as the daylight wains, and time starts to become limited.

PS — ALSO — If I’m going out on an adventure, and it may mean being out for the evening, I just look up the sunset time for my location, and make a note before I leave.

“the sun moves its own visible width, approximately every 3 minutes”

“the moon moves the distance of its diameter, in approximately one (1) hour”

By |2018-09-29T05:44:09+00:00September 9th, 2018|Categories: Environment, Prospecting, Survival, Techniques, Tutorials, Wilderness|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

About the Author:

Founding member of Prospecting Adventures, Senior Consultant for Alberta Gold Mining & Exploration. Owner of of Kinuso Hotel and Jack Pine Mine (placer gold lease) in Alberta, Canada.

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