Methods for sun ephemerides calculations

Functions for calculating sunrise, sunset, and times of dawn and dusk, with flexibility for the various formal definitions. They use algorithms provided by the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

manip, methods, utilities
# S4 method for SpatialPoints,POSIXct
crepuscule(crds, dateTime, solarDep, direction=c("dawn", "dusk"),
# S4 method for matrix,POSIXct
crepuscule(crds, dateTime,
           proj4string=CRS("+proj=longlat +datum=WGS84"), solarDep,
           direction=c("dawn", "dusk"), POSIXct.out=FALSE)
# S4 method for SpatialPoints,POSIXct
sunriset(crds, dateTime, direction=c("sunrise", "sunset"),
# S4 method for matrix,POSIXct
sunriset(crds, dateTime,
         proj4string=CRS("+proj=longlat +datum=WGS84"),
         direction=c("sunrise", "sunset"), POSIXct.out=FALSE)
# S4 method for SpatialPoints,POSIXct
solarnoon(crds, dateTime, POSIXct.out=FALSE)
# S4 method for matrix,POSIXct
solarnoon(crds, dateTime,
          proj4string=CRS("+proj=longlat +datum=WGS84"),
# S4 method for SpatialPoints,POSIXct
solarpos(crds, dateTime, ...)
# S4 method for matrix,POSIXct
solarpos(crds, dateTime,
         proj4string=CRS("+proj=longlat +datum=WGS84"), ...)

a SpatialPoints or matrix object, containing x and y coordinates (in that order).


a POSIXct object with the date and time associated to calculate ephemerides for points given in crds.


numeric vector with the angle of the sun below the horizon in degrees.


one of "dawn", "dusk", "sunrise", or "sunset", indicating which ephemerides should be calculated.


logical indicating whether POSIXct output should be included.


string with valid projection string describing the projection of data in crds.

other arguments passed through.


NOAA used the reference below to develop their Sunrise/Sunset and Solar Position Calculators. The algorithms include corrections for atmospheric refraction effects.

Input can consist of one location and at least one POSIXct times, or one POSIXct time and at least one location. solarDep is recycled as needed.

Do not use the daylight savings time zone string for supplying dateTime, as many OS will not be able to properly set it to standard time when needed.


crepuscule, sunriset, and solarnoon return a numeric vector with the time of day at which the event occurs, expressed as a fraction, if POSIXct.out is FALSE; otherwise they return a data frame with both the fraction and the corresponding POSIXct date and time.

solarpos returns a matrix with the solar azimuth (in degrees from North), and elevation.


NOAA notes that “for latitudes greater than 72 degrees N and S, calculations are accurate to within 10 minutes. For latitudes less than +/- 72 degrees accuracy is approximately one minute.”


Compared to NOAA's original Javascript code, the sunrise and sunset estimates from this translation may differ by +/- 1 minute, based on tests using selected locations spanning the globe. This translation does not include calculation of prior or next sunrises/sunsets for locations above the Arctic Circle or below the Antarctic Circle.


Meeus, J. (1991) Astronomical Algorithms. Willmann-Bell, Inc.

  • crepuscule
  • sunriset
  • solarnoon
  • solarpos
  • crepuscule-methods
  • crepuscule,SpatialPoints,POSIXct-method
  • crepuscule,matrix,POSIXct-method
  • solarnoon-methods
  • solarnoon,SpatialPoints,POSIXct-method
  • solarnoon,matrix,POSIXct-method
  • solarpos-methods
  • solarpos,SpatialPoints,POSIXct-method
  • solarpos,matrix,POSIXct-method
  • sunriset-methods
  • sunriset,SpatialPoints,POSIXct-method
  • sunriset,matrix,POSIXct-method
## Location of Helsinki, Finland, in decimal degrees,
## as listed in NOAA's website
hels <- matrix(c(24.97, 60.17), nrow=1)
Hels <- SpatialPoints(hels, proj4string=CRS("+proj=longlat +datum=WGS84"))
d041224 <- as.POSIXct("2004-12-24", tz="EET")
## Astronomical dawn
crepuscule(hels, d041224, solarDep=18, direction="dawn", POSIXct.out=TRUE)
crepuscule(Hels, d041224, solarDep=18, direction="dawn", POSIXct.out=TRUE)
## Nautical dawn
crepuscule(hels, d041224, solarDep=12, direction="dawn", POSIXct.out=TRUE)
crepuscule(Hels, d041224, solarDep=12, direction="dawn", POSIXct.out=TRUE)
## Civil dawn
crepuscule(hels, d041224, solarDep=6, direction="dawn", POSIXct.out=TRUE)
crepuscule(Hels, d041224, solarDep=6, direction="dawn", POSIXct.out=TRUE)
solarnoon(hels, d041224, POSIXct.out=TRUE)
solarnoon(Hels, d041224, POSIXct.out=TRUE)
solarpos(hels, as.POSIXct(Sys.time(), tz="EET"))
solarpos(Hels, as.POSIXct(Sys.time(), tz="EET"))
sunriset(hels, d041224, direction="sunrise", POSIXct.out=TRUE)
sunriset(Hels, d041224, direction="sunrise", POSIXct.out=TRUE)
## Using a sequence of dates
Hels_seq <- seq(from=d041224, length.out=365, by="days")
up <- sunriset(Hels, Hels_seq, direction="sunrise", POSIXct.out=TRUE)
down <- sunriset(Hels, Hels_seq, direction="sunset", POSIXct.out=TRUE)
day_length <- down$time - up$time
plot(Hels_seq, day_length, type="l")

## Using a grid of spatial points for the same point in time
# }
grd <- GridTopology(c(-179,-89), c(1,1), c(359,179))
SP <- SpatialPoints(coordinates(grd),
                    proj4string=CRS("+proj=longlat +datum=WGS84"))
wint <- as.POSIXct("2004-12-21", tz="GMT")
win <- crepuscule(SP, wint, solarDep=6, direction="dawn")
SPDF <- SpatialGridDataFrame(grd,
 proj4string=CRS("+proj=longlat +datum=WGS84"),
image(SPDF, axes=TRUE, col=cm.colors(40))
# }
Documentation reproduced from package maptools, version 0.9-9, License: GPL (>= 2)

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