Sunrise & Sunset

This page graphically displays sunrise and sunset times for a given location for an entire year. I wrote it to help me keep track of how miserable short winter days make me - a touch of the Seasonal Affective Depression or "Winter Blues" that so many people feel in winter - and how much I enjoy the arrival of spring.

  • On the 'Day Length' tab, each vertical line of pixels corresponds to one day, with the display covering one year. The left hand side of the display is six months in the past, the right hand is six months in the future, and the center of couse is today. The vertical range of the display covers the 24 hours of the day, with the pale blue section being daytime, and the constellations nighttime.

  • To see what the year is like from another location, go the the 'My Location' tab and click anywhere on the world map, or on one of the buttons naming the world's five most important cities. (You'll see that Melbourne is pre-selected). Go back to the 'Day Length' tab to see the year's day lengths being recalculated.

  • The 'Help' tab will show some help.

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Seasonal Affective Disorder, aka Seasonal Affective Depression, aka Winter Blues is the name given to a consistent tendency to feel emotionally low during the winter months of the year. People suffering from it can feel depressed, have lower energy levels, and engage in comfort eating of sweet and starchy foods. It can vary in intensity from a nuisance to life threatening depression.

It seems to be associated with light levels, and those living at very high or low latitudes, where days are short in winter, are more likely to suffer from it. Cloudy climates don't help either. One study of Americans shows about 1.5 percent of the population having SAD in Florida, and 9 percent in the north of the country.

One treatment which seems to be effective for some people is exposure to strong artificial light which mimics the spectrum of sunlight. An hour of half hour long light box session, usually early in the morning, can decrease symptoms. There are a number of other approaches to therapy, based around melatonin and vitamin D, amongst other things.