How L.A. Works: Sunrise Spotting

Congratulations. You’ve lived to see another day in L.A. Time to catch the sunrise—how about Runyon Canyon?

At 160 acres, Runyon Canyon Park is half the size of Disneyland.

Sunrise begins when the bright rim of the sun first peeks out over the easterly horizon and ends when the fiery ball is fully visible—a process that takes just over two minutes.

Oxygen and nitrogen molecules in the atmosphere (as well as other particles) scatter the sun’s light waves, creating the morning’s palette of red, orange, and yellow. Of the colors in the spectrum, these have the longer wavelengths and travel more easily from the horizon to the eye.

Days start getting shorter after June 21 (the summer solstice). At the beginning of October, the sun will rise at 6:48 a.m. By the end of the month, day will break at 7:12 a.m. Throughout October the length of the day will shrink from nearly 12 hours to less than 11.

The colors visible during sunrise (and sunset) can be either enhanced or muted by pollutants in the atmosphere. This may be one benefit of L.A. smog: Dawn and dusk sure look pretty.