I am looking for an Android app that can tell me where the sun will be in the sky. This is useful for photography, as I can avoid shooting towards the sun, and figure out where shadows will be.

The app should allow me to:

  • Set the location, either using GPS, or a map, or searching, or bookmarks
  • Set the date and time, either to the current day, or any point in the past/future
  • Display a diagram or compass for where the sun will be, at particular times of day
  • Show this diagram as an overlay on a map
  • See details for sunrise/sunset, twilight times, golden hour, day length etc
  • (Optional) Details for moon position and phases

It should all work offline. A free of charge app would be great, but I am willing to pay a few quid for a particularly useful app.

2 Answers 2


The application that stands out for this is The Photographers Ephemeris.

  • Free/Web-based desktop application.
  • Available from the Play Store for Android for a reasonable price (UK £3.22).
  • Also available for iOS.

TPE screenshotTPE screenshotTPE screenshot

Does basically all you are asking for and more, (lifted from the App Store Blurb):

The Photographer's Ephemeris (TPE) helps you plan outdoor photography shoots. TPE is a map-centric sun and moon calculator: see how the light will fall on the land, be it day or night, for almost anywhere on earth.

Ideal for landscape, nature, travel and outdoor photographers, TPE's map-based approach means you can search for any place name on the planet or position the map pin exactly where you want it.

Advanced features include: automatic time zone and elevation detection, correction for atmospheric refraction and height above the horizon. You can even determine when the sun or moon will be visible from behind nearby hills and mountains.

Key features:

  • Time and direction of sunrise and sunset
  • Time and direction of moonrise and moonset
  • Phase of the moon and % illumination
  • Times of civil, nautical and astronomical twilight
  • Graphical display on a map (Standard, Satellite, Hybrid, Terrain)
  • Rotate and tilt the map for the optimal view
  • Compass-based auto-rotation of the map
  • Movable map pins - drag and drop the pin exactly where you need it
  • Search for locations by place name or enter coordinates directly
  • Save any location you want - no fixed lists
  • All features available in both portrait and landscape mode
  • Does not require network connection for rise/set time, azimuths and sun/moon position

Advanced features:

  • Automatic time zone detection for any location on earth
  • Determines elevation above sea level
  • View azimuth and altitude of sun/moon for any time of day/night
  • Distance, bearing and elevation angle between any two points
  • Import locations from KML files

Geek features:

  • Find when the sun/moon will appear from behind a hill
  • Compensation for atmospheric refraction
  • Compensation for elevation above the horizon


  • Maps and elevation-based calculations require a data connection to function
  • Locations outside ±80° latitude (very far north and south) are unsupported
  • Map auto-rotate requires a compatible device (with magnetometer and accelerometer)
  • Requires that you have Google Play Services and Google Maps installed on your device. Most devices already have both installed. TPE will prompt you to install these if they are missing.
  • I've tried the desktop version of that. Its not bad, but a somewhat confusing interface. And rather similar coloured lines for sun positions etc. Also is there any way to hide the moon position, most of the time I don't care about that. Also for the Android app, how much of it actually works offline?
    – vclaw
    Commented Jun 22, 2015 at 18:55
  • Moon information display is optional, rise/set times are always available offline you can pre-load 2 maps for offline use, Commented Jun 22, 2015 at 19:17
  • Just done some more checking and the offline maps is not yet available in the Android version 1.2.1 currently. Commented Jun 22, 2015 at 19:41

Steve already picked a very good (if not the best) app for that. If you're looking for alternatives, there are some more in my list of photographer tools which I haven't tested; e.g. PlanIt! seems to match your request pretty well. Extract:

  • Where is the Sun or the Moon at the time and the location and to see the animation of the Sun/Moon/Stars/Milky Way movements as in real?
  • When and which azimuth is the Sunset or Sunrise today or on any date at any location around the world?
  • Do I get a clear view of subject from a certain location where is no mountain blocking the view?

Screenshot (source: Google Play; click image to enlarge)

Check out the other screenshots on the app's page to get a closer idea; you also might wish to peek into its Video tutorials at Youtube.

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