Sunlight is a portion of the electromagnetic radiation given off by the Sun, in particular infrared, visible, and ultraviolet light. On Earth, sunlight is filtered through Earth's atmosphere, and is obvious as daylight when the Sun is above the horizon. When the direct solar radiation is not blocked by clouds, it is experienced as sunshine, a combination of bright light and radiant heat. When it is blocked by clouds or reflects off other objects, it is experienced as diffused light. The World Meteorological Organization uses the term "sunshine duration" to mean the cumulative time during which an area receives direct irradiance from the Sun of at least 120 watts per square meter.[1] Other sources indicate an "Average over the entire earth" of "164 Watts per square meter over a 24 hour day".[2]

The ultraviolet radiation in sunlight has both positive and negative health effects, as it is both a requisite for vitamin D3 synthesis and a mutagen.

Sunlight takes about 8.3 minutes to reach Earth from the surface of the Sun. A photon starting at the center of the Sun and changing direction every time it encounters a charged particle would take between 10,000 and 170,000 years to get to the surface.[3]

Sunlight is a key factor in photosynthesis, the process used by plants and other autotrophic organisms to convert light energy, normally from the Sun, into chemical energy that can be used to synthesize carbohydrates and to fuel the organisms' activities.

Sunshine at Dunstanburgh
Sunlight shining through clouds, giving rise to crepuscular rays
'Sunlight' - RAHS-Osborne Collection c. 1930s (15775731511)
Photograph called Sunlight (1930s)


Researchers can measure the intensity of sunlight using a sunshine recorder, pyranometer, or pyrheliometer. To calculate the amount of sunlight reaching the ground, both the eccentricity of Earth's elliptic orbit and the attenuation by Earth's atmosphere have to be taken into account. The extraterrestrial solar illuminance (Eext), corrected for the elliptic orbit by using the day number of the year (dn), is given to a good approximation by[4]

where dn=1 on January 1st; dn=32 on February 1st; dn=59 on March 1 (except on leap years, where dn=60), etc. In this formula dn–3 is used, because in modern times Earth's perihelion, the closest approach to the Sun and, therefore, the maximum Eext occurs around January 3 each year. The value of 0.033412 is determined knowing that the ratio between the perihelion (0.98328989 AU) squared and the aphelion (1.01671033 AU) squared should be approximately 0.935338.

The solar illuminance constant (Esc), is equal to 128×103 lux. The direct normal illuminance (Edn), corrected for the attenuating effects of the atmosphere is given by:

where c is the atmospheric extinction and m is the relative optical airmass. The atmospheric extinction brings the number of lux down to around 100 000 lux.

The total amount of energy received at ground level from the Sun at the zenith depends on the distance to the Sun and thus on the time of year. It is about 3.3% higher than average in January and 3.3% lower in July (see below). If the extraterrestrial solar radiation is 1367 watts per square meter (the value when the Earth–Sun distance is 1 astronomical unit), then the direct sunlight at Earth's surface when the Sun is at the zenith is about 1050 W/m2, but the total amount (direct and indirect from the atmosphere) hitting the ground is around 1120 W/m2.[5] In terms of energy, sunlight at Earth's surface is around 52 to 55 percent infrared (above 700 nm), 42 to 43 percent visible (400 to 700 nm), and 3 to 5 percent ultraviolet (below 400 nm).[6] At the top of the atmosphere, sunlight is about 30% more intense, having about 8% ultraviolet (UV),[7] with most of the extra UV consisting of biologically damaging short-wave ultraviolet.[8]

Direct sunlight has a luminous efficacy of about 93 lumens per watt of radiant flux. Multiplying the figure of 1050 watts per square metre by 93 lumens per watt indicates that bright sunlight provides an illuminance of approximately 98 000 lux (lumens per square meter) on a perpendicular surface at sea level. The illumination of a horizontal surface will be considerably less than this if the Sun is not very high in the sky. Averaged over a day, the highest amount of sunlight on a horizontal surface occurs in January at the South Pole (see insolation).

Dividing the irradiance of 1050 W/m2 by the size of the Sun's disk in steradians gives an average radiance of 15.4 MW per square metre per steradian. (However, the radiance at the centre of the sun's disk is somewhat higher than the average over the whole disk due to limb darkening.) Multiplying this by π gives an upper limit to the irradiance which can be focused on a surface using mirrors: 48.5 MW/m2.

Composition and power

Solar spectrum en
Solar irradiance spectrum above atmosphere and at surface. Extreme UV and X-rays are produced (at left of wavelength range shown) but comprise very small amounts of the Sun's total output power.

The spectrum of the Sun's solar radiation is close to that of a black body[9][10] with a temperature of about 5,800 K.[11] The Sun emits EM radiation across most of the electromagnetic spectrum. Although the Sun produces gamma rays as a result of the nuclear-fusion process, internal absorption and thermalization convert these super-high-energy photons to lower-energy photons before they reach the Sun's surface and are emitted out into space. As a result, the Sun does not emit gamma rays from this process, but it does emit gamma rays from solar flares.[12] The Sun also emits X-rays, ultraviolet, visible light, infrared, and even radio waves;[13] the only direct signature of the nuclear process is the emission of neutrinos.

Although the solar corona is a source of extreme ultraviolet and X-ray radiation, these rays make up only a very small amount of the power output of the Sun (see spectrum at right). The spectrum of nearly all solar electromagnetic radiation striking the Earth's atmosphere spans a range of 100 nm to about 1 mm (1,000,000 nm). This band of significant radiation power can be divided into five regions in increasing order of wavelengths:[14]

  • Ultraviolet C or (UVC) range, which spans a range of 100 to 280 nm. The term ultraviolet refers to the fact that the radiation is at higher frequency than violet light (and, hence, also invisible to the human eye). Due to absorption by the atmosphere very little reaches Earth's surface. This spectrum of radiation has germicidal properties, as used in germicidal lamps.
  • Ultraviolet B or (UVB) range spans 280 to 315 nm. It is also greatly absorbed by the Earth's atmosphere, and along with UVC causes the photochemical reaction leading to the production of the ozone layer. It directly damages DNA and causes sunburn, but is also required for vitamin D synthesis in the skin and fur of mammals.[15]
  • Ultraviolet A or (UVA) spans 315 to 400 nm. This band was once held to be less damaging to DNA, and hence is used in cosmetic artificial sun tanning (tanning booths and tanning beds) and PUVA therapy for psoriasis. However, UVA is now known to cause significant damage to DNA via indirect routes (formation of free radicals and reactive oxygen species), and can cause cancer.[16]
  • Visible range or light spans 380 to 780 nm. As the name suggests, this range is visible to the naked eye. It is also the strongest output range of the Sun's total irradiance spectrum.
  • Infrared range that spans 700 nm to 1,000,000 nm (1 mm). It comprises an important part of the electromagnetic radiation that reaches Earth. Scientists divide the infrared range into three types on the basis of wavelength:
    • Infrared-A: 700 nm to 1,400 nm
    • Infrared-B: 1,400 nm to 3,000 nm
    • Infrared-C: 3,000 nm to 1 mm.

Published tables

Tables of direct solar radiation on various slopes from 0 to 60 degrees north latitude, in calories per square centimetre, issued in 1972 and published by Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Portland, Oregon, USA, appear on the web.[17]

Solar constant

Solar irradiance spectrum 1992
Solar irradiance spectrum at top of atmosphere, on a linear scale and plotted against wavenumber

The solar constant, a measure of flux density, is the amount of incoming solar electromagnetic radiation per unit area that would be incident on a plane perpendicular to the rays, at a distance of one astronomical unit (AU) (roughly the mean distance from the Sun to Earth). The "solar constant" includes all types of solar radiation, not just the visible light. Its average value was thought to be approximately 1366 W/m²,[18] varying slightly with solar activity, but recent recalibrations of the relevant satellite observations indicate a value closer to 1361 W/m² is more realistic.[19]

Total solar irradiance (TSI) and spectral solar irradiance (SSI) upon Earth

Total solar irradiance (TSI) – the amount of solar radiation received at the top of Earth's atmosphere – has been measured since 1978 by a series of overlapping NASA and ESA satellite experiments to be 1.365 kilo⁠watts per square meter (kW/m²).[18][20][21][22] TSI observations are continuing today with the ACRIMSAT/ACRIM3, SOHO/VIRGO and SORCE/TIM satellite experiments.[23] Variation of TSI has been discovered on many timescales including the solar magnetic cycle [24] and many shorter periodic cycles.[25] TSI provides the energy that drives Earth's climate, so continuation of the TSI time series database is critical to understanding the role of solar variability in climate change.

Spectral solar irradiance (SSI) – the spectral distribution of the TSI – has been monitored since 2003 by the SORCE Spectral Irradiance Monitor (SIM). It has been found that SSI at UV (ultraviolet) wavelength corresponds in a less clear, and probably more complicated fashion, with Earth's climate responses than earlier assumed, fueling broad avenues of new research in “the connection of the Sun and stratosphere, troposphere, biosphere, ocean, and Earth’s climate”.[26]

Intensity in the Solar System

Mars sunset PIA00920
Sunlight on Mars is dimmer than on Earth. This photo of a Martian sunset was imaged by Mars Pathfinder.

Different bodies of the Solar System receive light of an intensity inversely proportional to the square of their distance from Sun. A rough table comparing the amount of solar radiation received by each planet in the Solar System follows (from data in [1]):

Planet or dwarf planet distance (AU) Solar radiation (W/m²)
Perihelion Aphelion maximum minimum
Mercury 0.3075 0.4667 14,446 6,272
Venus 0.7184 0.7282 2,647 2,576
Earth 0.9833 1.017 1,413 1,321
Mars 1.382 1.666 715 492
Jupiter 4.950 5.458 55.8 45.9
Saturn 9.048 10.12 16.7 13.4
Uranus 18.38 20.08 4.04 3.39
Neptune 29.77 30.44 1.54 1.47
Pluto 29.66 48.87 1.55 0.57

The actual brightness of sunlight that would be observed at the surface depends also on the presence and composition of an atmosphere. For example, Venus's thick atmosphere reflects more than 60% of the solar light it receives. The actual illumination of the surface is about 14,000 lux, comparable to that on Earth "in the daytime with overcast clouds".[27]

Sunlight on Mars would be more or less like daylight on Earth during a slightly overcast day, and, as can be seen in the pictures taken by the rovers, there is enough diffuse sky radiation that shadows would not seem particularly dark. Thus, it would give perceptions and "feel" very much like Earth daylight. The spectrum on the surface is slightly redder than that on Earth, due to scattering by reddish dust in the Martian atmosphere.

For comparison, sunlight on Saturn is slightly brighter than Earth sunlight at the average sunset or sunrise (see daylight for comparison table). Even on Pluto, the sunlight would still be bright enough to almost match the average living room. To see sunlight as dim as full moonlight on Earth, a distance of about 500 AU (~69 light-hours) is needed; there are only a handful of objects in the Solar System known to orbit farther than such a distance, among them 90377 Sedna and (87269) 2000 OO67.

Surface illumination

The spectrum of surface illumination depends upon solar elevation due to atmospheric effects, with the blue spectral component dominating during twilight before and after sunrise and sunset, respectively, and red dominating during sunrise and sunset. These effects are apparent in natural light photography where the principal source of illumination is sunlight as mediated by the atmosphere.

While the color of the sky is usually determined by Rayleigh scattering, an exception occurs at sunset and twilight. "Preferential absorption of sunlight by ozone over long horizon paths gives the zenith sky its blueness when the sun is near the horizon".[28]

See diffuse sky radiation for more details.

Spectral composition of sunlight at Earth's surface

The Sun may be said to illuminate, which is a measure of the light within a specific sensitivity range. Many animals (including humans) have a sensitivity range of approximately 400–700 nm,[29] and given optimal conditions the absorption and scattering by Earth's atmosphere produces illumination that approximates an equal-energy illuminant for most of this range.[30] The useful range for color vision in humans, for example, is approximately 450–650 nm. Aside from effects that arise at sunset and sunrise, the spectral composition changes primarily in respect to how directly sunlight is able to illuminate. When illumination is indirect, Rayleigh scattering in the upper atmosphere will lead blue wavelengths to dominate. Water vapour in the lower atmosphere produces further scattering and ozone, dust and water particles will also absorb selective wavelengths.[31][32]

Spectrum of Sunlight en
Spectrum of the visible wavelengths at approximately sea level; illumination by direct sunlight compared with direct sunlight scattered by cloud cover and with indirect sunlight by varying degrees of cloud cover. The yellow line shows the spectrum of direct illumination under optimal conditions. The other illumination conditions are scaled to show their relation to direct illumination. The units of spectral power are simply raw sensor values (with a linear response at specific wavelengths).

Variations in solar irradiance

Seasonal and orbital variation

On Earth, the solar radiation varies with the angle of the Sun above the horizon, with longer sunlight duration at high latitudes during summer, varying to no sunlight at all in winter near the pertinent pole. When the direct radiation is not blocked by clouds, it is experienced as sunshine. The warming of the ground (and other objects) depends on the absorption of the electromagnetic radiation in the form of heat.

The amount of radiation intercepted by a planetary body varies inversely with the square of the distance between the star and the planet. Earth's orbit and obliquity change with time (over thousands of years), sometimes forming a nearly perfect circle, and at other times stretching out to an orbital eccentricity of 5% (currently 1.67%). As the orbital eccentricity changes, the average distance from the Sun (the semimajor axis does not significantly vary, and so the total insolation over a year remains almost constant due to Kepler's second law,

where is the "areal velocity" invariant. That is, the integration over the orbital period (also invariant) is a constant.

If we assume the solar radiation power P as a constant over time and the solar irradiation given by the inverse-square law, we obtain also the average insolation as a constant.

But the seasonal and latitudinal distribution and intensity of solar radiation received at Earth's surface does vary.[33] The effect of Sun angle on climate results in the change in solar energy in summer and winter. For example, at latitudes of 65 degrees, this can vary by more than 25% as a result of Earth's orbital variation. Because changes in winter and summer tend to offset, the change in the annual average insolation at any given location is near zero, but the redistribution of energy between summer and winter does strongly affect the intensity of seasonal cycles. Such changes associated with the redistribution of solar energy are considered a likely cause for the coming and going of recent ice ages (see: Milankovitch cycles).

Solar intensity variation

Space-based observations of solar irradiance started in 1978. These measurements show that the solar constant is not constant. It varies on many time scales, including the 11-year sunspot solar cycle.[24] When going further back in time, one has to rely on irradiance reconstructions, using sunspots for the past 400 years or cosmogenic radionuclides for going back 10,000 years. Such reconstructions have been done.[34][35][36][37] These studies show that in addition to the solar irradiance variation with the solar cycle (the (Schwabe) cycle), the solar activitiy varies with longer cycles, such as the proposed 88 year (Gleisberg cycle), 208 year (DeVries cycle) and 1,000 year (Eddy cycle).

Life on Earth

The existence of nearly all life on Earth is fueled by light from the Sun. Most autotrophs, such as plants, use the energy of sunlight, combined with carbon dioxide and water, to produce simple sugars—a process known as photosynthesis. These sugars are then used as building-blocks and in other synthetic pathways that allow the organism to grow.

Heterotrophs, such as animals, use light from the Sun indirectly by consuming the products of autotrophs, either by consuming autotrophs, by consuming their products, or by consuming other heterotrophs. The sugars and other molecular components produced by the autotrophs are then broken down, releasing stored solar energy, and giving the heterotroph the energy required for survival. This process is known as cellular respiration.

In prehistory, humans began to further extend this process by putting plant and animal materials to other uses. They used animal skins for warmth, for example, or wooden weapons to hunt. These skills allowed humans to harvest more of the sunlight than was possible through glycolysis alone, and human population began to grow.

During the Neolithic Revolution, the domestication of plants and animals further increased human access to solar energy. Fields devoted to crops were enriched by inedible plant matter, providing sugars and nutrients for future harvests. Animals that had previously provided humans with only meat and tools once they were killed were now used for labour throughout their lives, fueled by grasses inedible to humans.

The more recent discoveries of coal, petroleum and natural gas are modern extensions of this trend. These fossil fuels are the remnants of ancient plant and animal matter, formed using energy from sunlight and then trapped within Earth for millions of years. Because the stored energy in these fossil fuels has accumulated over many millions of years, they have allowed modern humans to massively increase the production and consumption of primary energy. As the amount of fossil fuel is large but finite, this cannot continue indefinitely, and various theories exist as to what will follow this stage of human civilization (e.g., alternative fuels, Malthusian catastrophe, new urbanism, peak oil).

Cultural aspects

The effect of sunlight is relevant to painting, evidenced for instance in works of Eduard Manet and Claude Monet on outdoor scenes and landscapes.

Winter Sunshine
Téli verőfény ("Winter Sunshine") by László Mednyánszky, early 20th century

Many people find direct sunlight to be too bright for comfort, especially when reading from white paper upon which the sunlight is directly shining. Indeed, looking directly at the Sun can cause long-term vision damage. To compensate for the brightness of sunlight, many people wear sunglasses. Cars, many helmets and caps are equipped with visors to block the Sun from direct vision when the Sun is at a low angle. Sunshine is often blocked from entering buildings through the use of walls, window blinds, awnings, shutters, curtains, or nearby shade trees. Sunshine exposure is needed biologically for the creation of Vitamin D in the skin, a vital compound needed to make strong bone and muscle in the body.

In colder countries, many people prefer sunnier days and often avoid the shade. In hotter countries, the converse is true; during the midday hours, many people prefer to stay inside to remain cool. If they do go outside, they seek shade that may be provided by trees, parasols, and so on.

In many world religions, such as Hinduism, the Sun is considered to be a god, as it is the source of life and energy on Earth. It also formed the basis for religion in Ancient Egypt.


Sunbathing is a popular leisure activity in which a person sits or lies in direct sunshine. People often sunbathe in comfortable places where there is ample sunlight. Some common places for sunbathing include beaches, open air swimming pools, parks, gardens, and sidewalk cafes. Sunbathers typically wear limited amounts of clothing or some simply go nude. For some, an alternative to sunbathing is the use of a sunbed that generates ultraviolet light and can be used indoors regardless of weather conditions. Tanning beds have been banned in a number of states in the world.

For many people with light skin, one purpose for sunbathing is to darken one's skin color (get a sun tan), as this is considered in some cultures to be attractive, associated with outdoor activity, vacations/holidays, and health. Some people prefer naked sunbathing so that an "all-over" or "even" tan can be obtained, sometimes as part of a specific lifestyle.

Controlled heliotherapy, or sunbathing, has been used as a treatment for psoriasis and other maladies.

Skin tanning is achieved by an increase in the dark pigment inside skin cells called melanocytes, and is an automatic response mechanism of the body to sufficient exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the Sun or from artificial sunlamps. Thus, the tan gradually disappears with time, when one is no longer exposed to these sources.

Effects on human health

The ultraviolet radiation in sunlight has both positive and negative health effects, as it is both a principal source of vitamin D3 and a mutagen.[38] A dietary supplement can supply vitamin D without this mutagenic effect,[39] but bypasses natural mechanisms that would prevent overdoses of vitamin D generated internally from sunlight. Vitamin D has a wide range of positive health effects, which include strengthening bones[40] and possibly inhibiting the growth of some cancers.[41][42] Sun exposure has also been associated with the timing of melatonin synthesis, maintenance of normal circadian rhythms, and reduced risk of seasonal affective disorder.[43]

Long-term sunlight exposure is known to be associated with the development of skin cancer, skin aging, immune suppression, and eye diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration.[44] Short-term overexposure is the cause of sunburn, snow blindness, and solar retinopathy.

UV rays, and therefore sunlight and sunlamps, are the only listed carcinogens that are known to have health benefits,[45] and a number of public health organizations state that there needs to be a balance between the risks of having too much sunlight or too little.[46] There is a general consensus that sunburn should always be avoided.

Epidemiological data shows that people who have more exposure to sunlight have less high blood pressure and cardiovascular-related mortality. While sunlight (and its UV rays) are a risk factor for skin cancer, "sun avoidance may carry more of a cost than benefit for over-all good health."[47] A study found that there is no evidence that UV reduces lifespan in contrast to other risk factors like smoking, alcohol and high blood pressure.[47]

Effect on plant genomes

Elevated solar UV-B doses increase the frequency of DNA recombination in Arabidopsis thaliana and tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) plants.[48] These increases are accompanied by strong induction of an enzyme with a key role in recombinational repair of DNA damage. Thus the level of terrestrial solar UV-B radiation likely affects genome stability in plants.

See also


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  47. ^ a b Weller, RB (2016). "Sunlight Has Cardiovascular Benefits Independently of Vitamin D.". Blood Purification. 41 (1–3): 130–4. doi:10.1159/000441266. PMID 26766556.
  48. ^ Ries G, Heller W, Puchta H, Sandermann H, Seidlitz HK, Hohn B (2000). "Elevated UV-B radiation reduces genome stability in plants". Nature. 406 (6791): 98–101. doi:10.1038/35017595. PMID 10894550.

Further reading

  • Hartmann, Thom (1998). The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight. London: Hodder and Stoughton. ISBN 0-340-82243-0.

External links


Dawn, from an Old English verb dagian: "to become day", is the time that marks the beginning of twilight before sunrise. It is recognized by the appearance of indirect sunlight being scattered in the atmosphere, when the centre of the Sun's disc reaches 18° below the horizon. This dawn twilight period will last until sunrise (when the Sun's upper limb breaks the horizon), as the diffused light becomes direct sunlight.


Daylight is the combination of all direct and indirect sunlight during the daytime. This includes direct sunlight, diffuse sky radiation, and (often) both of these reflected by the Earth and terrestrial objects, like landforms and buildings. Sunlight scattered or reflected by objects in outer space (that is, beyond the Earth's atmosphere) is generally not considered daylight. Thus, daylight excludes moonlight, despite it being indirect sunlight. Daytime is the period of time each day when daylight occurs. Daylight happens as Earth rotates, and either side on which the Sun shines is considered daylight.

Desert Sunlight Solar Farm

The Desert Sunlight Solar Farm is a 550 megawatt (MWAC) photovoltaic power station approximately six miles north of Desert Center, California, in the Mojave Desert. It uses approximately 8.8 million cadmium telluride modules made by the US thin-film manufacturer First Solar. As of Fall 2015, the Solar Farm has the same 550 MW installed capacity as the Topaz Solar Farm in the Carrizo Plain region of Central California, making both of them tied for the second largest completed solar plants by installed capacity.

Diffuse sky radiation

Diffuse sky radiation is solar radiation reaching the Earth's surface after having been scattered from the direct solar beam by molecules or particulates in the atmosphere. Also called sky radiation, diffuse skylight, or just skylight, it is the determinative process for changing the colors of the sky. Approximately 23% of direct incident radiation of total sunlight is removed from the direct solar beam by scattering into the atmosphere; of this amount (of incident radiation) about two-thirds ultimately reaches the earth as photon diffused skylight radiation.The dominant radiative scattering processes in the atmosphere are Rayleigh scattering and Mie scattering; they are elastic, meaning that a photon of light can be deviated from its path without being absorbed and without changing wavelength.

Under an overcast sky, there is no direct sunlight and all light results from diffused skylight radiation.

Proceeding from analyses of the aftermath of the eruption of the Philippines volcano Mount Pinatubo (in June 1991) and other studies: Diffused skylight, owing to its intrinsic structure and behavior, can illuminate under-canopy leaves, permitting more efficient total whole-plant photosynthesis than would otherwise be the case; this in stark contrast to the effect of totally clear skies with direct sunlight that casts shadows onto understory leaves and thereby limits plant photosynthesis to the top canopy layer, (see below).

Edible mushroom

Edible mushrooms are the fleshy and edible fruit bodies of several species of macrofungi (fungi which bear fruiting structures that are large enough to be seen with the naked eye). They can appear either below ground (hypogeous) or above ground (epigeous) where they may be picked by hand. Edibility may be defined by criteria that include absence of poisonous effects on humans and desirable taste and aroma.Edible mushrooms are consumed for their nutritional value and for their culinary value. Mushrooms, especially dried shiitake, are sources of umami flavor from guanylate.

Mushrooms consumed by those practicing folk medicine are known as medicinal mushrooms. While psychedelic mushrooms are occasionally consumed for recreational or entheogenic purposes, they can produce psychological effects, and are therefore not commonly used as food.

There is no evidence from high-quality clinical research that 'medicinal' mushrooms have any effect on human diseases.

Edible mushrooms include many fungal species that are either harvested wild or cultivated. Easily cultivated and common wild mushrooms are often available in markets, and those that are more difficult to obtain (such as the prized truffle, matsutake and morel) may be collected on a smaller scale by private gatherers. Some preparations may render certain poisonous mushrooms fit for consumption.

Before assuming that any wild mushroom is edible, it should be identified. Accurate determination and proper identification of a species is the only safe way to ensure edibility, and the only safeguard against possible accident. Some mushrooms that are edible for most people can cause allergic reactions in some individuals, and old or improperly stored specimens can cause food poisoning. Great care should therefore be taken when eating any fungus for the first time, and only small quantities should be consumed in case of individual allergies. Deadly poisonous mushrooms that are frequently confused with edible mushrooms and responsible for many fatal poisonings include several species of the genus Amanita, in particular, Amanita phalloides, the death cap. It is therefore better to eat only a few, easily recognizable species, than to experiment indiscriminately. Moreover, even normally edible species of mushrooms may be dangerous, as mushrooms growing in polluted locations can accumulate pollutants such as heavy metals.

Global dimming

Global dimming is the gradual reduction in the amount of global direct irradiance at the Earth's surface that was observed for several decades after the start of systematic measurements in the 1950s. The effect varies by location, but worldwide it has been estimated to be of the order of a 4% reduction over the three decades from 1960–1990. However, after discounting an anomaly caused by the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991, a very slight reversal in the overall trend has been observed.Global dimming is thought to have been caused by an increase in particulates such as sulfate aerosols in the atmosphere due to human action. It has interfered with the hydrological cycle by reducing evaporation and may have reduced rainfall in some areas. Global dimming also creates a cooling effect that may have partially counteracted the effect of greenhouse gases on global warming.

Lunar eclipse

A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes directly behind Earth and into its shadow. This can occur only when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are exactly or very closely aligned (in syzygy), with Earth between the other two. A lunar eclipse can occur only on the night of a full moon. The type and length of a lunar eclipse depend on the Moon's proximity to either node of its orbit.

During a total lunar eclipse, Earth completely blocks direct sunlight from reaching the Moon. The only light reflected from the lunar surface has been refracted by Earth's atmosphere. This light appears reddish for the same reason that a sunset or sunrise does: the Rayleigh scattering of bluer light. Due to this reddish color, a totally eclipsed Moon is sometimes called a blood moon.

Unlike a solar eclipse, which can only be viewed from a relatively small area of the world, a lunar eclipse may be viewed from anywhere on the night side of Earth. A total lunar eclipse can last up to nearly 2 hours, while a total solar eclipse lasts only up to a few minutes at any given place, due to the smaller size of the Moon's shadow. Also unlike solar eclipses, lunar eclipses are safe to view without any eye protection or special precautions, as they are dimmer than the full Moon.

For the date of the next eclipse, see the section Recent and forthcoming lunar eclipses.


Moonlight consists of mostly sunlight (with little earthlight) reflected from the parts of the Moon's surface where the Sun's light strikes.

Photic zone

The photic zone, euphotic zone (Greek for "well lit": εὖ "well" + φῶς "light"), or sunlight (or sunlit) zone is the uppermost layer of water in a lake or ocean that is exposed to intense sunlight. It corresponds roughly to the layer above the compensation point, i.e. depth where the rate of carbon dioxide uptake, or equivalently, the rate of photosynthetic oxygen production, is equal to the rate of carbon dioxide production, equivalent to the rate of respiratory oxygen consumption, i.e. the depth where net carbon dioxide assimilation is zero.

It extends from the surface down to a depth where light intensity falls to one percent of that at the surface, called the euphotic depth. Accordingly, its thickness depends on the extent of light attenuation in the water column. Typical euphotic depths vary from only a few centimetres in highly turbid eutrophic lakes, to around 200 meters in the open ocean. It also varies with seasonal changes in turbidity.

Since the photic zone is where almost all of the photosynthesis occurs, the depth of the photic zone is generally proportional to the level of primary production that occurs in that area of the ocean. About 90% of all marine life lives in the photic zone. A small amount of primary production is generated deep in the abyssal zone around the hydrothermal vents which exist along some mid-oceanic ridges.

The zone which extends from the base of the euphotic zone to about 200 metres is sometimes called the disphotic zone. While there is some light, it is insufficient for photosynthesis, or at least insufficient for photosynthesis at a rate greater than respiration. The euphotic zone together with the disphotic zone coincides with the epipelagic zone. The bottommost zone, below the euphotic zone, is called the aphotic zone. Most deep ocean waters belong to this zone.

The transparency of the water, which determines the depth of the photic zone, is measured simply with a Secchi disk. It may also be measured with a photometer lowered into the water.


Photokeratitis or ultraviolet keratitis is a painful eye condition caused by exposure of insufficiently protected eyes to the ultraviolet (UV) rays from either natural (e.g. intense sunlight) or artificial (e.g. the electric arc during welding) sources. Photokeratitis is akin to a sunburn of the cornea and conjunctiva, and is not usually noticed until several hours after exposure. Symptoms include increased tears and a feeling of pain, likened to having sand in the eyes.

The injury may be prevented by wearing eye protection that blocks most of the ultraviolet radiation, such as welding goggles with the proper filters, a welder's helmet, sunglasses rated for sufficient UV protection, or appropriate snow goggles. The condition is usually managed by removal from the source of ultraviolet radiation, covering the corneas, and administration of pain relief. Photokeratitis is known by a number of different terms including: snow blindness, arc eye, welder's flash, bake eyes, corneal flash burns, sand man's eye, flash burns, niphablepsia, potato eye, or keratoconjunctivitis photoelectrica.

Port Sunlight

Port Sunlight is a model village and suburb in the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, Merseyside, it is located between Lower Bebington and New Ferry, on the Wirral Peninsula. Port Sunlight was built by Lever Brothers to accommodate workers in its soap factory (now part of Unilever); work commenced in 1888. The name is derived from Lever Brothers' most popular brand of cleaning agent, Sunlight.

Port Sunlight contains 900 Grade II listed buildings, and was declared a Conservation Area in 1978. Port Sunlight has been informally suggested for World Heritage Site (WHS) status to protect it from development and to preserve the unique character for future generations; however, it is not yet on the current UK "tentative list" for future consideration as a WHS. In the 2001 Census, its population was 1,450.


A rainbow is a meteorological phenomenon that is caused by reflection, refraction and dispersion of light in water droplets resulting in a spectrum of light appearing in the sky. It takes the form of a multicoloured circular arc. Rainbows caused by sunlight always appear in the section of sky directly opposite the sun.

Rainbows can be full circles. However, the observer normally sees only an arc formed by illuminated droplets above the ground, and centered on a line from the sun to the observer's eye.

In a primary rainbow, the arc shows red on the outer part and violet on the inner side. This rainbow is caused by light being refracted when entering a droplet of water, then reflected inside on the back of the droplet and refracted again when leaving it.

In a double rainbow, a second arc is seen outside the primary arc, and has the order of its colours reversed, with red on the inner side of the arc. This is caused by the light being reflected twice on the inside of the droplet before leaving it.


Rickets is a condition that results in weak or soft bones in children. Symptoms include bowed legs, stunted growth, bone pain, large forehead, and trouble sleeping. Complications may include bone fractures, muscle spasms, an abnormally curved spine, or intellectual disability.The most common cause is vitamin D deficiency. This can result from eating a diet without enough vitamin D, dark skin, too little sun exposure, exclusive breastfeeding without vitamin D supplementation, celiac disease, and certain genetic conditions. Other factors may include not enough calcium or phosphorus. The underlying mechanism involves insufficient calcification of the growth plate. Diagnosis is generally based on blood tests finding a low calcium, low phosphorus, and a high alkaline phosphatase together with X-rays.Prevention includes vitamin D supplements for exclusively breastfed babies. Treatment depends on the underlying cause. If due to a lack of vitamin D, treatment is usually with vitamin D and calcium. This generally results in improvements within a few weeks. Bone deformities may also improve over time. Occasionally surgery may be done to fix bone deformities. Genetic forms of the disease typically require specialized treatment.Rickets occurs relatively commonly in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. It is generally uncommon in the United States and Europe, except among certain minority groups. It begins in childhood, typically between the ages of 3 and 18 months old. Rates of disease are equal in males and females. Cases of what is believed to have been rickets have been described since the 1st century, and the condition was widespread in the Roman Empire. The disease was common into the 20th century. Early treatments included the use of cod liver oil.

Solar cooker

A solar cooker is a device which uses the energy of direct sunlight to heat, cook or pasteurize drink and other food materials. Many solar cookers currently in use are relatively inexpensive, low-tech devices, although some are as powerful or as expensive as traditional stoves, and advanced, large-scale solar cookers can cook for hundreds of people. Because they use no fuel and cost nothing to operate, many nonprofit organizations are promoting their use worldwide in order to help reduce fuel costs (especially where monetary reciprocity is low) and air pollution, and to slow down the deforestation and desertification caused by gathering firewood for cooking.

Sunlight (Nicky Byrne song)

"Sunlight" is a song performed by Irish singer Nicky Byrne. Written by Byrne along with Wayne Hector and Ronan Hardiman, the song represented Ireland in the second semi-final of Eurovision Song Contest 2016. It was released as a digital download on 12 February 2016 through Studz Limited and Universal Music Ireland as the lead single from his debut studio album Sunlight (2016).

Sunlight (cleaning product)

Sunlight is a brand of dishwashing deteregent manufactured and marketed around the world by Unilever, except in the United States and Canada, where became owned by Sun Products (now Henkel Corporation) since 2008.

Sunlight Foundation

The Sunlight Foundation is an American 501(c)(3) nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that advocates for open government. The organization was founded in April 2006 with the goal of increasing transparency and accountability in the United States Congress, the executive branch, and in state and local governments. The foundation's primary focus is the role of money in politics. The organization seeks to increase campaign finance regulations and disclosure requirements.

Sunlight House

Sunlight House is a Grade II listed building in the art deco style on Quay Street in Manchester, England.. Completed in 1932 for Joseph Sunlight, at 14 storeys it was the tallest building in Manchester, and the top floors of turrets and multiple dormer windows and mansard roofs create a distinctive skyline.

Sunlight Peak

Sunlight Peak is a high mountain summit of the Needle Mountains range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 14,065-foot (4,287 m) fourteener is located in the Weminuche Wilderness of San Juan National Forest, 28.5 miles (45.8 km) northeast by north (bearing 32°) of the City of Durango in La Plata County, Colorado, United States.Sunlight Peak was so named in 1902; the name is likely descriptive.

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