Sunrise to Sunset Predictions

Methods to use to get good views

Cate Dudley, Editor-in-Chief

Beautiful sunrises and sunsets are visible all round Jacksonville, if you know where to look. (Photo Courtesy of Ava Yunos)

Warmer weather and gorgeous sunrises are upon us, but choosing a good one to wake up early for can be difficult. Luckily, there are many apps and methods you can use to choose.

Alpenglow is a free app available on iOs and Android devices. It offers a comprehensive sunrise and sunset forecast by giving each day a predicted percentage. The percentages correlate with a scale that goes from Poor to Fair to Good to Great. It predicts for any location selected or by using your current location. The exact times for First Light, Blue Hour, Golden Hour, Sunrise, Daytime, Sunset and Last Light are displayed on the first tab of the app. There are some options that you have to pay for, like certain iPhone widgets and a full week forecast, but they are not necessary to predict a good sunrise or sunset.

Another app that is very useful is Clear Outside. This app gives a full forecast up to a week in advance, with rain, cloud coverage, sunrise and sunset times, fog, wind and temperature. It is a little more complicated than Alpenglow, but once you get used to it, it is very understandable and useful. 

Now that you have the apps, you need the right conditions. Many people think a perfectly clear sky is  good for a sunrise or sunset, but in order to get a variety of colors and light, there needs to be a high percentage of cloud cover high in the sky. If the clouds are too low, the sky will be foggy and overcast. 

Focusing on sunrises, the best place to watch them, in my opinion, is the beach. Any wide, open and east-facing location would work well and for sunsets, the same, but west-facing.

Many people make the mistake of getting to the place they want to watch sunrise at the time the forecast says sunrise will be. Instead, you should show up 20-40 minutes early to get the best colors. 

Good luck and happy sunrise chasing!