Sunrise & Sunset in iCal

Must-have data — at least for me.

It may sound strange to folks who live in the world of alarm clocks and wrist watches, but my life’s calendar is managed by the sun. I wake early — before sunrise this time of year — and I sometimes can’t do things until after the sun has come up. As a pilot, I also need to know when the sun will rise and set so I can schedule sunrise and sunset flights, night flights, and photo flights, all of which depend on the sun for timing.

Each year, I export the daily sunrise and sunset information from Time Palette, a shareware application that provides various almanac information, into a FileMaker Pro database I created, which turns the exported data into real dates and times. I then export the Sunrise and Sunset info as separate FileMaker Pro files. I import those into iCal Filter, which enables me to export them back out as iCal .ics files. I open those file to import the information into iCal, thus displaying sunrise and sunset times on my iCal calendar.

Although it seems like a lot of work, I only do it once a year and then I’m set for the entire year.

If you’re interested in the .ics files for your location, I could probably be charmed into whipping up the files for you in exchange for one of the items on my wish list. (I really like surprises.) I might even throw in the moonrise/moonset times; I’m working on adding them, too.

17 thoughts on “Sunrise & Sunset in iCal

  1. There are actually quite a few Web sites with that info. For example, the U.S. Naval Observatory has one, too:

    TimePalette is the program I use to get the data. It’s incredibly detailed, with all kinds of time-related information for specific places on earth. It really came in handy when a photographer wanted sunrise and sunset photo flights over Lake Powell, which is quite a distance from here. It has a huge built-in database, but you can also enter lat/lon info to create your own locations. My Sunrise/Sunset info is for Wickenburg Airport, which is about 3 miles from my house. But if I wanted to get really geeky about it, I could enter the exact lat/lon for my house and have it calculate the information for that location.

    I like having the data in iCal where each sunrise and sunset is an actual event. No need to access the Internet and it’s right in my calendar program, which is usually open when I make appointments for flying. Because I use .Mac to synchronize iCal on all my Macs, the info’s available on all my computers.

  2. Would you be willing to create an 2008 iCal file for Sag Harbor, NY? We seem to have similar interests in books and I’d be happy to purchase one on your behalf. Thanks.

  3. Hi Maria,

    I have been looking everywhere for a sunrise/sunset calendar in ical for the year of 2009. I need it for Shawano, WI. Is there anyway that you could please make me one or tell me how to make one. I want to import it to my google calendar and I just can’t find anything that will do that. Can you please help!

    Thank you much appreciated.

  4. Hey Maria (and everyone else),

    Again, thank you for the calendar you made for me for 2009. I understand you are very busy right now, and not available to make calendars for me and/or everyone. I have found a program that all you have to do is input your decimal coordinates and time zone, and it will output an iCal including automatic adjustments for Daylight savings (so long as you live in the US. If you live outside the US, you can enter when your country starts and ends DST).

    Go to: and scroll down to the 1-08 entry (about 3/4 down the page)

    A barebones program that works very, very well. Enjoy!

  5. I thought I posted something here recently but the page never refreshed after I submitted it. I see people are running into the php script I wrote for an online generator for iCal from your other page

    I thought it would be good to post it here just to cover all the bases.

    This will generate a one year of ical sunrise and sunset events for any lat/lon and time zone.

    I did no verification or sanitizing routines and put it up there mostly unverified, but it appears accurate for my location usually within a minute (any error might be due to rounding)

    • Michael: Thanks for this update. Comments here are moderated, so there’s usually a delay before they appear. That’s why your initial comment didn’t come up right away. Thanks again for sharing this.

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