Day-night cycle

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A full day/night cycle in time lapse.

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


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 (86400 seconds) in a real day (60min × 24hr) and 20 minutes (1200 seconds) in a full Minecraft day. A collection of time unit conversions is listed below:

Minecraft time to real time[edit]

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 (365.2422 days) 8,766,000 121.75 hours (5.072916 days)

Real time to Minecraft time[edit]

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. (72 seconds)
10 seconds 12 minutes (720 seconds)
50 seconds 1 hour (60 minutes, 3600 seconds)
1 minute (60 seconds) 1 hour and 12 minutes (72 minutes, 4320 seconds).
1 hour 3 days.
1 day 2.4 months, = 72 days.
1 week ≈ 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]

time of day
Real time
06:00:00.0 0
Beginning of the Minecraft day.
Villagers awaken and rise from their beds.
06:10:01.2 167 0:08.35 The moon completely disappears behind the horizon.
06:27:00.0 450 0:22.5 Sunrise ends. The horizon no longer changes color.
07:00:00.0 1000 0:50 Time when using the /time set day command.
08:00:00.0 2000 1:40 Villagers begin their workday.
10:17:00.0 4283.3 3:34.16 Light level reaches 15, the maximum.
12:00:00.0 6000 5:00 Noon; the sun is at its peak.
Time when using /time set noon.
13:42:00.0 7700 6:25 Light level begins to decrease.
15:00:00.0 9000 7:30 Villagers end their workday and begin socializing.
17:37:00.0 11616.6 9:40.83 Sunset begins. The horizon starts to darken.
17:50:02.4 11834 9:51.7 The moon appears on the horizon.
18:00:00.0 12000 10:00 Time when using the /time set sunset command. ‌[Bedrock Edition only]
Villagers go to their beds and sleep.
18:00:36.0 12010 10:00.5 In rainy weather, beds can be used at this point.
18:12:36.0 12210 10:10.5 Undead mobs no longer burn.
18:32:31.2 12542 10:27.1 In clear weather, beds can be used at this point.
In clear weather, Bees enter the nest/hive for the night.
18:38:52.8 12648 10:32.4 First tick when monsters spawn outdoors in thunder weather.
18:47:09.6 12786 10:39.3 The clock shows exactly dusk (day to night).
18:58:08.4 12969 10:48.45 First tick when monsters spawn outdoors in rainy weather.
19:00:00.0 13000 10:50 Time when using the /time set night command.
19:11:16.8 13188 10:59.4 First tick when monsters spawn outdoors in clear weather.
19:42:07.2 13702 11:25.1 The sun completely disappears behind the horizon.
19:48:00.0 13800 11:30 Sunset ends. The horizon no longer changes color.
00:00:00.0 18000 15:00 Midnight; the moon is at its peak.
Time when using the /time set midnight command.
04:12:00.0 22200 18:30.0 Sunrise begins. The horizon starts to brighten.
04:18:00.0 22300 18:35.0 The sun appears on the horizon.
04:48:43.2 22812 19:00.6 Last tick when monsters spawn outdoors in clear weather.
05:00:00.0 23000 19:10 Time when using the /time set sunrise command. ‌[Bedrock Edition only]
05:01:51.6 23031 19:11.55 Last tick when monsters spawn outdoors in rainy weather.
05:12:57.6 23216 19:20.8 The clock shows exactly dawn (night to day).
05:21:07.2 23352 19:27.6 Last tick when monsters spawn outdoors in thunder weather.
05:27:36.0 23460 19:33 In clear weather, beds can no longer be used.
In clear weather, Bees leave the nest/hive.
05:47:27.6 23791 19:49.55 Undead mobs begin to burn.
05:59:31.2 23992 19:59.6 In rainy weather, beds can no longer be used.


This is the start of a new day.

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

  • Start: 0 ticks (06:00:00.0)
  • Mid: 6000 ticks (12:00:00.0)
  • End: 12000 ticks (18:00:00.0)

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

During the daytime, the Sun rises up to its peak 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) are set on fire. Additionally, sunlight renders spiders neutral, unless they are currently chasing the player, and any endermen exposed to sunlight teleport randomly when near the player and randomly become neutral if having been aggressive for at least 30 seconds.

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


Example sunset seen from a high spot on the map.

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

  • Start: 12000 ticks (18:00:00.0)
  • Mid: 12900 ticks (18:54:00.0)
  • End: 13800 ticks (19:48:00.0)

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 also grows 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 advances the day-night cycle to dawn and sets the weather to clear. This also occurs in multiplayer as long as every player online is in a bed simultaneously. Time does not pass for other aspects of the world, however; for example, crops do not grow and furnaces do not cook or smelt as they would when players are awake.

  • 17:47:09.6 (11786) = Light level = 15 to 14
  • 17:59:09.6 (11986) = Light level = 14 to 13
  • 18:11:09.6 (12186) = Light level = 13 to 12
  • 18:23:09.6 (12386) = Light level = 12 to 11
  • 18:35:09.6 (12586) = Light level = 11 to 10
  • 18:47:09.6 (12786) = Light level = 10 to 9
  • 18:59:09.6 (12986) = Light level = 9 to 8
  • 19:11:09.6 (13186) = Light level = 8 to 7
  • 19:23:09.6 (13386) = Light level = 7 to 6
  • 19:35:09.6 (13586) = Light level = 6 to 5
  • 19:47:09.6 (13786) = Light level = 5 to 4


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

Nighttime lasts 7 minutes.

  • Start: 13800 ticks (19:48:00.0)
  • Mid: 18000 ticks (00:00:00.0)
  • End: 22200 ticks (04:12:00.0)

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

Players sleep in a bed between 12542 (18:32:31.2) and 23460 (05:27:36.0) ticks in clear weather. In rainy weather, players sleep in a bed between 12010 (18:00:36.0) and 23992 (05:59:31.2) ticks.

Undead mobs no longer burn between 12210 (18:12:36.0) and 23791 (05:47:27.6) ticks, when the biome isn't dry.

During the 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 continue to grow during the night as long as one player is not sleeping.


Example of the Sun rising in the horizon.

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

  • Start: 22200 ticks (04:12:00.0)
  • Mid: 23100 ticks (05:06:00.0)
  • End: 24000 (0) ticks (06:00:00.0)

During sunrise, the Moon sets on the western horizon and the Sun rises on the eastern horizon. The sky near the rising Sun glows orange. The sun also appears visibly larger as it rises, but slowly shrinks to its 8×8 pixel size while rising.

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

Morning twilight begins after 22009 ticks, which is the equivalent of 4:00:32.4 in real-time. The exact last time hostile mobs can spawn in exposed areas is 22812 (04:48:43.2) on clear mornings and 23031 (05:01:51.6) on rainy mornings.[note 1]

  • 04:12:57.6 (22216) = Light level = 4 to 5
  • 04:24:57.6 (22416) = Light level = 5 to 6
  • 04:36:57.6 (22616) = Light level = 6 to 7
  • 04:48:57.6 (22816) = Light level = 7 to 8
  • 05:00:57.6 (23016) = Light level = 8 to 9
  • 05:12:57.6 (23216) = Light level = 9 to 10
  • 05:24:57.6 (23416) = Light level = 10 to 11
  • 05:36:57.6 (23616) = Light level = 11 to 12
  • 05:48:57.6 (23816) = Light level = 12 to 13
  • 06:00:57.6 (16) = Light level = 13 to 14


A clock allows players to determine Minecraft time. A clock is useful while underground where the current day/night cycle is not visible. A clock helps the player avoid mistakenly surfacing at night and falling prey to night-spawned mobs on the surface.

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


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]

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

Syntax: /time set <number|day|noon|sunset|night|midnight|sunrise>


/time set 0 – Sets the time to dawn/sunrise.
/time set day – Sets the time to 1000.
/time set 12000 – Sets the time to dusk/sunset.
/time set sunrise - Sets the time to 23000.

Moon phases[edit]

Each day that progresses adds 24000 ticks to the time counter. While each day looks the same, the Moon appears in one of eight different phases each night. Although there is no explicit command to change the Moon's phase, using /time add 24000 advances 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


Icon Achievement In-game description Actual requirements (if different) Xbox points earned Trophy type (PS)
Passing the TimePlay for 100 days.Play for 100 Minecraft days, which is equivalent to 33 hours in real time.20GBronze



Java Edition Indev
February 12, 2010, 1Added the day-night cycle.
Java Edition Beta
1.8Pre-releaseIn the leaked 1.8 pre-release version, the player can manipulate the time by pressing F6 to reverse time and F7 to advance time.
Day-night cycles no longer need chunk updates, now is a smooth transition.
Java Edition
1.0.0Beta 1.9 Prerelease 4Notch mentioned on his Twitter that the Sun actually rose in the north in Minecraft.[1] This was a bug and was fixed in Beta 1.9 Prerelease 4, so the Sun and Moon now both rise in the east;[2] this also changed the South-West rule to the South-East rule.
Added lunar phases.[3][4]
1.3.112w21aThe stars that appear at night were updated to be more realistic (slightly smaller and brighter).
1.513w01aDaylight sensors determine what time of day it is by outputting a redstone signal.
1.6.113w24a/gamerule doDaylightCycle added, which turns the day-night cycle on or off.
Pocket Edition Alpha
0.2.0Added the day-night cycle.
0.4.0The day is now longer.
0.5.0The Nether reactor core sets the time to night.
0.7.3Added sunrises, sunsets, the Sun, the Moon, and stars.
0.10.0build 1Added the day-night cycle to creative mode.
The time of day is now more accurately synced in multiplayer.
0.11.0build 1Added option to disable day-night cycle, in creative mode only.
Pocket Edition
1.1.0alpha sun and moon now rise in the east and set in the west. (Previously they rose in the north and set in the south.)


  • The sun and moon rotate around the player, not the center of the map. They always remain in the same position relative to the stars, and to each other.
    • Due to this fact, solar eclipses in Minecraft are currently impossible.
    • Also due to this fact, technically lunar eclipses (also known as blood moons) would happen every night.
  • 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.
  • The sun and moon are both visible when standing or flying at a height above the terrain at approximately 1.4× the set render distance.
  • The day-night cycle continues while the player is in the Nether or The End, although the world itself does not change until the Overworld is loaded again. This can be observed if the player creates a village in another dimension and observes the schedule progressing as normal.
  • Background game music is triggered at specific times of the day-night cycle.
  • The highest value of time that can be set with the /time set command is 2147483647 (231−1; the 32-bit integer limit).
    • This is equivalent to 89478 days, or 11483 ticks. Real-time equivalent (counting from January 1, 1 CE, year 0 not existed): December 25, 1581 CE at 11:28:58.8. Without leap years it would be January 1, 1582 CE at 17:28:58.8. Elapsed real-life time: approximately 345 days and 5 hours.
    • Using NBT editors, the largest time value that can be set is 9223372036854775807 (263−1; the 64-bit integer limit). After this point, the day/night cycle cannot progress. At this time, 384307168202282 real-life days would have elapsed, or roughly 4.5 billion years.


  1. 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.