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Day-night cycle

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A full day/night cycle in time lapse.

The day-night cycle is a 20 minute long lapse between two main light settings.

Conversions[edit | edit source]

A chart showing the approximations of Minecraft time to real time.

In Minecraft, time is exactly 72 times faster than normal time. This can be easily calculated as the proportion 144020 = 72, since there are 1440 minutes in a real day (60min × 24hr) and 20 minutes in a full Minecraft day. A collection of time unit conversions is listed below:

Minecraft time to real time[edit | edit source]

Minecraft time Minecraft ticks Real time
1 second 0.27 0.0138 seconds
1 minute 16.6 0.83 seconds
1 hour 1,000 50 seconds
1 day 24,000 20 minutes
1 week (7 days) 168,000 2.3 hours
1 month (30 days) 720,000 10 hours
1 year (365.25 days) 8,766,000 121.75 hours (5.072916 days)

Real time to Minecraft time[edit | edit source]

The approximation of real time to Minecraft time:

Real time Minecraft time
1 tick 3.6 Minecraft seconds
1 second 1 minute and 12 seconds.
1 minute 1 hour and 12 minutes.
1 hour 3 days.
1 day 2.4 months, = 72 days.
1 week Approx. 1.385 years, ≈ 17 months, = 72 weeks, = 504 days.
1 month 6 years, = 72 months, ≈ 308.5 weeks, = 2,160 days.
1 year 72 years, ≈ 876.5 months, ≈ 3,757 weeks, ≈ 26,297.5 days.

24-hour Minecraft day[edit | edit source]

time of day
Real time
6:00 24000
Beginning of the Minecraft day.
6:27 450 0:22.5 Sunrise ends. The horizon no longer changes color.
7:00 1000 0:50 Time when using the /time set day command.
10:17 4283.3 3:34.16 Light level reaches 15, the maximum.
12:00 6000 5:00 Noon; the sun is at its zenith.
13:42 7700 6:25 Light level begins to decrease.
17:37 11616.6 9:40.83 Sunset begins. The horizon starts to darken.
18:31 12516.6 10:25.83 Beds can be used at this point.
18:34 12566.6 10:28.3 The moon appears on the horizon.
Undead mobs no longer burn.
18:58 12966.6 10:48.3 First tick when monsters spawn outdoors, in rain.[note 1]
19:00 13000 10:50 Time when using the /time set night command.
19:03 13050 10:52.5 The sun completely disappears behind the horizon.
19:11 13183.3 10:59.16 First tick when monsters spawn outdoors, in clear weather.[note 1]
19:48 13800 11:30 Sunset ends. The horizon no longer changes color.
18000 15:00 Midnight; the moon is at its zenith.
4:33 22550 18:47.5 Sunrise begins. The horizon starts to brighten.
4:48 22800 19:00 Last tick when monsters spawn outdoors, in clear weather.[note 1]
4:55 22916.6 19:05.83 The sun appears on the horizon.
5:01 23016.6 19:10.83 Last tick when monsters spawn outdoors, in rain.[note 1]
5:27 23450 19:32.5 The moon completely disappears behind the horizon.
Undead mobs begin to burn, though not necessarily immediately.

Daytime[edit | edit source]

The start of a new day.

Daytime is the longest section of the cycle, lasting 10 minutes.

When a player first spawns in singleplayer, the day-night cycle will always start at the beginning of the daytime (0:00). Most multiplayer servers also start at the beginning of daytime, but the day-night cycle continues regardless of any new players joining.

During the daytime, the Sun rises up to its zenith in a light blue sky. The exact color of the sky depends on the current biome; for example desert skies are a lighter shade of blue than plains skies.

At approximately noon, all blocks that are in direct vertical view of the sky receive sunlight at light level 15, which is the maximum. Sunlight provides ample light for the growth of saplings, grass blocks and crops. Most undead mobs (including zombies and skeletons) exposed to direct sunlight (and are not in shade, in water, or wearing helmets) will be set on fire. Additionally, sunlight will render spiders neutral, unless they are currently chasing the player, and any endermen exposed to sunlight will teleport randomly when near the player and become neutral if already aggressive.

During the day, daylight sensors have the highest output level.

Sunset/dusk[edit | edit source]

Example sunset seen from a high spot on the map.

Sunset is the period between daytime and nighttime, and always lasts 1 12 minutes.

During sunset, the Sun descends on the western horizon, and the Moon rises on the eastern horizon. The sky near the setting Sun glows a vibrant orange-red. The Sun will also grow visibly larger as it sets.

The light level of all blocks that are in direct vertical view of the sky, and are not lit by other light sources, decreases by 1 every 10 seconds.

Between dusk and dawn, players may sleep in a bed. In singleplayer mode, doing so will advance the day-night cycle to dawn and set the weather to clear. This will also occur in multiplayer, so long as every player online is in a bed simultaneously. Time does not pass with regards to other aspects of the world, however; for example, crops will not grow faster, and furnaces will not cook food faster.

Nighttime[edit | edit source]

A Tundra biome during the night; various mobs can be seen.

Nighttime lasts 7 minutes.

During the night, the Moon rises to its zenith in a dark blue sky dotted with small white stars. The stars appear to move with the Moon, and can be first seen towards the end of the sunset.

During nighttime, the world is covered in darkness; the light level falls to a minimum of 4, which allows hostile mobs to spawn on the surface. The exact duration for which hostile mobs are able to spawn in exposed areas is 9625 ticks. Regardless of the low light level, crops will continue to grow during the night, unless the player skips the night with the use of a bed.

During the night, inverted daylight sensors have the highest output level.

Sunrise/dawn[edit | edit source]

Example of the Sun rising in the horizon.

Sunrise is the period between nighttime and daytime, and always lasts 1 12 minutes.

During sunrise, the Moon sets on the western horizon and the Sun rises on the eastern horizon. The sky near the rising Sun will glow a vibrant orange. The sun will also appear visibly larger as it rises, but will slowly shrink to its 8x8 pixel size while rising.

All blocks that are in direct vertical view of the sky will grow 1 light level brighter every 10 seconds. Eventually, the effects of sunlight will return, dissipating the threat of most hostile mobs.

Morning twilight begins after 22009 ticks, which is the equivalent of 4:00:32 in real time. The exact last time hostile mobs can spawn in exposed areas is 22812 (04:48:43) on clear mornings and 23031 (05:01:08) on rainy mornings.[note 1]


Clocks[edit | edit source]

Clocks allow players to determine Minecraft time. They are useful underground where the current day/night cycle is not visible. They help the player avoid mistakenly surfacing at night and falling prey to night-spawned mobs on the surface.

Clocks will spin uselessly in the Nether and the End, since there is no day-night cycle in those dimensions.

Commands[edit | edit source]

If commands are enabled, then it is possible to change the current time with the /time commands, as detailed below. To enable or disable the day-night cycle, use the following command: /gamerule doDaylightCycle [true/false]

Set time[edit | edit source]

Specific times can be set with the /time set command.

Syntax: /time set <number | day | night>


/time set 0 - Sets the time to dawn/sunrise.
/time set day - Sets the time to 1000.
/time set 6000 - Sets the time to midday/noon.
/time set 12000 - Sets the time to dusk/sunset.
/time set night - Sets the time to 13000.
/time set 18000 - Sets the time to midnight.

Moon phases[edit | edit source]

Each day that progresses adds 24000 ticks to the time counter. While each day looks the same, the Moon will go through one of its 8 different phases each night. Although there is no explicit command to change the Moon's phase, using /time add 24000 will advance the Moon to its next phase. Furthermore, any of the phases can be accessed with the use of one of the following commands:

/time set 14000 - Full Moon
/time set 38000 - Waning Gibbous
/time set 62000 - Last Quarter
/time set 86000 - Waning Crescent
/time set 110000 - New Moon
/time set 134000 - Waxing Crescent
/time set 158000 - First Quarter
/time set 182000 - Waxing Gibbous

Achievements[edit | edit source]

Icon Achievement In-game description Actual requirements (if different) Availability Xbox points earned Trophy type (PS)
Xbox PS Pocket Nintendo

Passing the Time Play for 100 days. Play for 100 Minecraft days, which is equivalent to 33 hours in real time. Yes Yes Yes Yes 20G Bronze

Video[edit | edit source]

History[edit | edit source]

February 12, 2010 Added day-night cycle.
1.8 1.8-pre1 In the leaked 1.8 pre-release version, the player can manipulate the time by pressing F6 to reverse time and F7 to advance time.
Official release
1.0.0 Beta 1.9-pre4 Notch mentioned on his Twitter that the Sun actually rose in the north in Minecraft.[3] This was a bug and was fixed in Beta 1.9 prerelease 4, so the Sun and Moon now both rise in the east;[4] this also changed the South-West rule to the South-East rule.
Added lunar phases.[1][2]
1.3.1 12w21a The stars that appear at night were updated to be more realistic (slightly smaller and brighter).
1.5 13w01a Daylight sensors determine what time of day it is by outputting a redstone signal.
1.6.1 13w24a /gamerule doDaylightCycle added, which turns the day-night cycle on or off.
Pocket Edition Alpha
0.2.0 Added the day-night cycle.
0.4.0 The day is now longer.
0.5.0 The Nether reactor sets the time to night
0.7.3 Added sunrises, sunsets, the Sun, the Moon, and stars.
0.10.0 Added the day-night cycle to creative mode.
The time of day is now more accurately synced in multiplayer.
0.11.0 build 1 Added option to disable day-night cycle, in creative mode only.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The sun and moon rotate around the player, not the center of the map.
    • They will always remain in the same position relative to the stars, and to each other.
      • Due to this fact, eclipses in Minecraft are currently impossible.
  • Day and night do not proceed when a singleplayer game is paused. This does not apply when a GUI window (such as the inventory) is opened.
    • In multiplayer, this is not the case; time proceeds normally as long as the server is on.
  • Standing or flying at a height above the terrain at approximately 1.4x the render distance, the sun and moon will both be visible, giving the impression that the player is in space.
  • The day-night cycle will continue while the player is in the Nether or the End, although the world itself will not change until the Overworld is loaded again.
  • Background game music is triggered at specific times of the day-night cycle (currently unknown).
  • The highest value of time that can be set with the /time set command is 2147483647.
    • This is equivalent to: Day = 89478 Tick = 11483 Real-time Equivalent (since the first day ever) [DD/MM/YYY (HH:MM:SS:MlMlMl)] = 24/12/244 (11:28:58:800) (8 days + 6 hours back due to leap years) Without Leap Years = 1/1/245 (17:28:58:800). Elapsed Time: approx. 345 days 5 hours.
    • Using NBT editors, the largest time value that can be set is 9223372036854775807 (2^63 - 1). After this point, the day/night cycle cannot progress. At this time, 384307168202282 days will have elapsed, or roughly 1.05 trillion years.

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. a b c d e Time of day measured by the last time commands were executed before the spawn cycle. During a thunderstorm, mobs can spawn at any time of day.

References[edit | edit source]