Need a sunset timer? Use your fingers

I came across an old (I mean, really old!) Men’s Health Magazine Singapore dated January 2006.  It says that fingers can be used as sunset timer.  The article was written about 10 years ago but this is the only time I have heard of it, so it really piqued my curiosity.  Luckily, we were in a place near the beach so I had the chance to test it out right away!

Now, facing the sun, the article says, the distance between the sun and the horizon will determine the time of sunset.

Simply place your fingers in between the earth and the sun.  Each finger is equivalent to 15 minutes. At this scenario, the estimated time of sunset is about 45 minutes (3 fingers X 15 minutes).


After 45 minutes, the sun got down at the horizon and it took only about 6 minutes for the sun to totally disappear and got a bit darker.  Although I expected the sun to be at least half-across the horizon by that time, the timing is still okay.

Amused with this newly-learned trick, I really need to try it again.  Off to the beach once more the following day and this is what I’ve got:


Almost the same result as the day before!

Now, what is this hack for, you ask? Well, when my hubby asked me this, I replied, “at least now we know what to tell our kids when they ask how long we can stay at the beach before heading back home!”  Not a good one, I know.  But this is the best I can think of because, I’ll have to admit it, this is just one of those tips that’s good to know but do have much use of.

Or, as the article in the magazine said, this camping tip is useful to know so the tent will be set up before it gets dark.

How about you, how can this hack be useful for you?




  1. I never thought that fingers can be used as sunset time, what an interesting way to reveal how much time left until sunset! 😉 I’d love to try this method!

  2. This is a great theory! And it seems like it passed the test! would love to try this for myself. I always wondered the same. I don’t actually get how the it can help you putting the tent in the woods when you can’t see the horizon

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