Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

When Is the Sun the Strongest During the Day?

...
Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images

Life could not exist on Earth with the energy and warmth from the sun; however, strong sunlight results in harm if you stay exposed for too long. The ultraviolet radiation in sunlight presents a danger to human beings and can cause sunburn or more serious problems, such as skin cancer. Knowing when the sun emits its most potent rays can help you avoid overexposure.

Time

The sun produces its strongest light between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation poses its greatest threat during this time of day. One way to protect yourself is to stay indoors during these hours, if possible. If you need to be outdoors during the day, for example, to get exercise or maintain a garden, you might want to schedule these activities for the early morning or late afternoon.

Season and Location

The time of the year affects the intensity of sunlight. The greatest danger from the sun occurs during summer. For those in the United States, this means the months between May and August pose the biggest challenge in avoiding UV radiation. However, summer occurs at different times of the year in other parts of the world. Travelers should remain aware of the strength of the sunlight to which might they become exposed, depending on their location. Even in winter, exposure to sunlight can present problems. For instance, snow often reflects over 85 percent of the UV radiation it receives.

Clouds

The strength of the sun's rays can vary during the day or from one day to the next, depending on whether any clouds form. Clouds typically block some UV radiation, but the type and size of the cloud dictates the amount that gets through. Clouds can affect the time of day that the strongest UV radiation occurs. For example, the peak hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. might have cloud cover that dissipates later in the day.

Protection

You want to protect yourself against the potential danger from the sun at all times, not just the sun's peak hours. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has developed an index to assist people in assessing the danger from sunlight on any particular day. The index rates the threat from UV radiation on a scale from 2 to 11+, based on cloud cover and other local factors. The EPA advises those going out into the sun to wear protective clothing, apply appropriate sunscreen and seek out shade when possible, to reduce their risk of skin damage.

Related Articles

What Is the Difference Between Sunlight & Artificial Light for Plants?
What Is the Difference Between Sunlight & Artificial...
Difference Between Night Blooming Plants & Day Blooming Plants
Difference Between Night Blooming Plants & Day Blooming...
Sunlight Vs. Artificial Light in Plant Growth
Sunlight Vs. Artificial Light in Plant Growth
Incandescent Light Vs. Sunlight for Plant Growth
Incandescent Light Vs. Sunlight for Plant Growth
Plant Growth Under Different Lights
Plant Growth Under Different Lights
Why Do Sunflowers Always Face Toward the Sun?
Why Do Sunflowers Always Face Toward the Sun?
Cost of Brick Patios vs. Trex Decks
Cost of Brick Patios vs. Trex Decks
How to Grow Plants Near Low-E Windows
How to Grow Plants Near Low-E Windows
The Effect of Fluorescent Light on Plant Growth
The Effect of Fluorescent Light on Plant Growth
The Advantages of Indoor vs. Outdoor Pools
The Advantages of Indoor vs. Outdoor Pools
What Are the Dangers of Grow Lights?
What Are the Dangers of Grow Lights?
Which Bugs Are Attracted to a Bug Zapper?
Which Bugs Are Attracted to a Bug Zapper?
What Type of Stem Does a Sunflower Plant Have?
What Type of Stem Does a Sunflower Plant Have?
How Much Sun Do Gardenias Need?
How Much Sun Do Gardenias Need?
What Vegetables Can I Grow With Only 5 Hours of Sun?
What Vegetables Can I Grow With Only 5 Hours of Sun?
How to Get Rid of Wasps Outside Your Door
How to Get Rid of Wasps Outside Your Door
At What Time of Day Do Bees Visit Vegetable Gardens?
At What Time of Day Do Bees Visit Vegetable Gardens?
Garden Guides
×