After the seemingly endless dog days of summer, it’s kind of a relief to see the days getting shorter. This October 1st, the Minneapolis sunset occurs at 6:53pm, and by October 31st the sun will be setting at 6:02pm. Then in November, Daylight Savings Time ends and everything scoots up another hour! Of course you’ll want to set up your backyard theater system while you still have plenty of daylight to see what you’re doing (and before your friends come over, so you’ll be able to socialize). As we get into the fall and winter months, this might require laying out the equipment as soon as you get home from work. Fortunately our systems take only a few minutes to set up, but it still pays to plan ahead.
How dark do you need it to get before you can enjoy your outdoor theater system? While our projectors produce a powerfully bright image, enhanced further by the reflectivity of our QuikScreen, we recommend that you let “dusk,” otherwise known as civil twilight, pass into nautical twilight before showing your first film. Nautical twilight occurs about half an hour after dusk; the sun is 12 degrees below the horizon, casting insufficient light to compete with the central attraction on the screen. Keep in mind that most projectors take a few minutes to achieve their full brightness, so you may want to fire up the lamp in advance.
If you really want to get scientific about your screening schedule so you can plan ahead for months at a time, check out the U.S. Naval Observatory’s Sun or Moon/Rise Set Table for One Year and view up to 12 months of detailed sunset/twilight data for your city or town. Now that’s what we call being prepared!