How to measure remaining daylight with your hands

How to measure remaining daylight with your hands: This trick is amazing

If you find yourself lost in the woods, on a camping trip, or just hiking in the forest and you want to know how much time you have left until sunset, then there is an amazing little trick that will help you find the answer. Although not completely accurate, this trick is said to be very helpful in measuring the amount of remaining daylight. The cool thing about this trick is that it requires no technology, but just yourself and a clear view of the horizon. 

This little trick has no official name, but you will basically use your hands or fingers to measure the distance between the sun and horizon. This procedure acts as a natural clock and will tell you how much daylight you have left. Now to fully answer the question – How to measure remaining daylight with your hands, let’s look a little further on how to set it up.

The best way to set this up is to place your index finger under the sun and your other fingers will fall in line. Each finger represents 15 minutes, so your entire hand will be about an hour. If the space between the sun and the horizon is longer than your hand then place your other hand underneath your original hand and count both hands.

For example, if you are able to fit both of your hands in between the sun and the horizon perfectly, then you will have approximately two hours of daylight left.  To measure time when it’s earlier in the day,  keep stacking your hands one under the other until you have an accurate time. Take a look at the picture below for a proper illustration.


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If it’s close to sunset and your entire hand cannot fit between the sun and horizon, then use your fingers to measure the remaining time, remember that each finger is measured in 15 minute intervals so if you can only fit two fingers in between the sun and horizon then you’ll only have 30 minutes of daylight left. 

How to measure remaining daylight with your hands if hills or mountains are in the way

If there are any major obstructions in the way like a mountain, hill, or tree, then you will need to try to avoid it to get a good view of the horizon. If you can’t avoid it, then you will need to try to do your best in estimating the distance from the top of the mountain to the horizon. Also if there is any type of precipitation in the area(weather) then you will have to take your best guess because heavy weather will hide the sun and horizon.

If you see a storm coming then try to analyze the remaining daylight time before the storm hits, but even then heavy cloud coverage will obscure the sun’s light anyway.


Important Keys to Remember

  • You will still have a few minutes of sunlight after the sun hits the horizon
  • Try to avoid mountains, hills, and trees to get a straight view of the  horizon
  • Every finger represents 15 minutes of time
  • Weather will distort your measurements





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