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Q: Solunar Table Calculations ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Solunar Table Calculations
Category: Computers > Algorithms
Asked by: kevo1957-ga
List Price: $30.00
Posted: 13 Jan 2004 09:41 PST
Expires: 12 Feb 2004 09:41 PST
Question ID: 295970
I'm looking for some information on calculating solunar tables to
identify prime fishing times. There are a lot of solunar tables
available on the web, but I would like to calculate a table myself.
Subject: Re: Solunar Table Calculations
Answered By: aht-ga on 13 Jan 2004 20:44 PST
Rated:4 out of 5 stars

Thank you for your question regarding how to make your own Solunar Tables.

An excellent resource to familiarize yourself with before embarking on
this trip is:

Fishing and Hunting Solunar Times

In particular, please read the site owner's testimonial on how he came
about the "secret" of creating Solunar Tables, here:

About half-way down the page, he mentions that there are several key
factors that go into creating a Solunar Table:

1) Knowing to the minute when the sun and moon each rise and set;
2) Knowing when the full or new moon occurs;
3) Knowing the local weather conditions;
4) Knowing the change in photoperiodism (the ratio of daylight to
darkness for a given day).

also, the theory here:

So, it would seem that in order for you to develop your own Solunar
Tables, you will need ways to find out these four things.

At this point, I should point out that the easiest way to make your
own Solunar Tables would be to buy the software that is sold on that
website, or subscribe to their customized e-mail service. However, in
case you are interested in how to go about making your own from
scratch, here is some additional information:



First, you need a good way to determine the sunset, sunrise, moonset,
and moonrise times for the exact location where you want to fish.

For this, I suggest you call out the Navy... or at least use their website:

Sun or Moon Rise/Set Table for One Year

Use Form B with the exact longitude and latitude of your secret
fishing spot for best results (although, the nearest town is probably
good enough). Please note that all times are relative to Greenwich
Mean Time, which means you will need to adjust for Daylight Savings
Time if your area observes that:

Daylight Savings Time - When do we change our clocks?



For the moon's phases, we go back to the Navy:

Phases of the Moon



This is the toughest one, and is something that you cannot compute
into the Solunar Table too far in advance. Instead, you need to simply
keep an eye on the local weather forecasts, and use your "gut feel"
for when a shift in weather will coincide with the sun/moon rise/set

The Weather Channel



The photoperiod is simply the ratio of daylight to darkness. For
example, if the sun rises at 7:00am, and sets at 7:00pm, then there
are twelve hours of daylight, and twelve hours of darkness, for a
ratio of 1:1. All that this particular factor accounts for, then, is
the change in seasons over the course of the year.


If you take a look at some of the free solunar tables on (available free for each state and province in
N.America) you can then get a feel for how this works. However, as
indicated on the page describing the solunar theory, the actual major
fishing times are calculated by charting the "upper and lower meridian
passage of the resultant gravitational (tidal) force". The minor
fishing times are "when these forces are rising or setting on either
horizon". So, what that means is that a major period coincides with
what would be high or low tide if you were on the coast.

To calculate these times, you need to plot the positions and relative
gravitational forces of the sun and moon based on their rise and set
times, as adjusted to the local sidereal time (what the time would
really be if we didn't have time zones to keep us from adjusting our
watches ever few miles when moving east or west).

Gravity and Tides

 - according to this site, the force of the Sun on the Earth is
approximately one-half the force of the Moon, which needs to be
factored into the plot

Local Apparent Sidereal Time

 - calculate the apparent sidereal time for the longitude of your
fishing spot, that will give you the number of minutes' difference
between sidereal time and standard time


All of this can be done in Excel, but setting up the spreadsheet would
require quite a bit of math. All in all, buying either the e-mail
subscription or the software from is probably your better
option. However, you now have the information to do-it-yourself if you
really want to!


Google Answers Researcher
kevo1957-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $10.00
Great - thanks

Subject: Re: Solunar Table Calculations
From: byrd-ga on 14 Jan 2004 08:37 PST
Hi Kevo,

I had your question locked for quite some time yesterday and had an
answer nearly finished when I somehow lost the lock. How, I?m still
not sure. I did experience a computer crash that took awhile to
resolve, but even losing one?s internet connection isn?t supposed to
affect a lock.  Somehow it did, though, and by the time I got back
online, the lock had been acquired by another Researcher, who
subsequently answered your question.

However, since I put so much time into it, and since the answer I
prepared had a number of links not included above, I?ve decided to
post it in its entirety here, so as not to waste the information, and
in hopes that some of it may be of additional use to you.  There will,
of course, be some duplication of sources, but also some additions.


The ?Solunar Theory? originated with John Alden Knight, who first
advanced his ideas in 1926.  After some years of trial and error,
including identifying and examining over 33 potential factors, he
patented and published the first ?Solunar Tables? in 1936, and held a
monopoly until his patent expired.  Here are two articles you might
like to read, as they have some good information not only on the
history of Solunar Tables, but on the types of data Knight used (and
discarded) in constructing them. It is probably good background
information for you to have if you?re going to attempt to create your
own tables.

--From ?In-Fisherman,? an answer to a question on solunar calendars: 

--From ?Fishing Florida Online Magazine,? ?Solunar Theory Explained.?


I did try to locate the original patent, but without success, as any
patent prior to 1976 can only be located by number, not by name or
subject or any other term.  However, if by some good fortune you
should somehow stumble across the patent number, the search page for
the U.S. Patent Office is here:  

Fortunately, Knight?s patent has now expired, however, which makes his
information available to all, and as the articles above state there
are many imitators.  But nearly all use a process similar to Knight?s
for generating their tables.  So by reading material available through
the various vendors and sources that offer these tables to the public
you can get an idea how they do it. It quickly becomes apparent that
there are certain standard critical data used by all of them, and one
thing nearly all have in common is that they derive much of this raw
data from the U.S. Navy.

Here is the Navy?s page where you can get ?...the times of sunrise,
sunset, moonrise, moonset, transits of the Sun and Moon, and the
beginning and end of civil twilight, along with information on the
Moon's phase ...? for cities and towns within the U.S. and also for
worldwide locations:
This page is for data for one day:   

This page will return data for an entire year:

Also, scroll down below the forms for further information.  For
example, it states, ?If you need rise/set or twilight times for a
series of dates for a U.S. location, use our rise/set table program,
which computes a one-page table covering an entire year.? Here is the
main page where you can access the Navy?s data services, which should
be able to provide you with all the raw data you need:

However, there are also a number of other alternative sources for
data, including the following:

--Here is a ?Solar and Feeding Time Calculator? for Ottawa, Canada,
with instructions for interpolating the data to your location:

--Here is a ?Moon Calculator? from ?Arkansas Stripers.?  The author
states, ?There are a lot of good solunar tables; but, they can never
be printed to be accurate for exactly where you are fishing. The Moon
Calculator can give you accurate times for any town that is close to
where you will be fishing.?  See it here: 

--Another moon calculator, this one freeware that you can download,
called ?MoonCalc 6.0,? states that it ?provides information relating
to the position, age, phase, orientation, appearance and visibility of
the moon for any given date, time and location on earth. It also
provides the Julian Day Number, Magnetic Declination, time and
direction of moonrise and moonset, interval between sunset and
moonset, interval between sunrise and moonrise, date/time of
astronomical new moon (conjunction), full moon, apogee and perigee and
predicts the likelihood of visualising the young moon from a
particular location. Data pertaining to solar and lunar eclipses in
any year are also shown.?  Download it here: 

A sunrise/sunset freeware calculator for download: 

A downloadable sun position calculator from Texas A&M University: 


Of course, once you have found the data, you?ll need to know how to
interpret it so you can create the customized tables you want.  Though
the actual algorithms are protected, one good way to understand how
solunar tables are generated is to see what various commercial
enterprises do with the data. One, ?Solunar Services,? has a very
comprehensive website and, although they are in business to sell the
tables, or their software for generating them, they do give a lot of
good information that would likely be of use to you in creating your
own tables.  The page is done in frames, so I can?t give you the exact
link, but if you?ll go here: and click on the
?FAQ? section on the left, you?ll find a lot of good info. Read
through other portions of the site as well; it?s one of the best.

Here?s a very good article on understanding and practical use of raw
solunar data, from ?Angler World.?  It?s slanted toward the bass
fisherman, but is very useful in general as well: 

This example of solunar tables for Galveston, TX shows how the data
may be plotted, and scrolling down below the tables you will find much
detailed explanation:

Here are a few other tables (with additional information) that could
serve as references/models on how to set one up: (click on links on left side)


However, maybe one of the best sources for learning how best to use
the data would be the originator of solunar theory, Knight himself. 
And you?re in luck because he wrote a book explaining his theory,
which is still the leading authority on solunar theory. It?s called,
?Moon Up, Moon Down,? published in 1942. Amazon lists the book, but
says it is currently out of stock.

This site says so also, but offers to order one for you:

But this site appears to have it in stock, along with several other of
Knight?s books: 

Just fyi, here?s the Library of Congress listing of all Knight?s books
and writings:,+John+Alden,+1890-1966.&SA=Knight,+John+Alden,+1890-1966.&BROWSE=1&HC=13&SID=7

Here?s another great site, that has a copy of Knight?s original
solunar tables in booklet form, along with explanations of how to use
them. Price is only five bucks!  Scroll about  of the way down the
page to find it:


Finally, you might like to consider some solunar tables software,
which will produce custom tables from your data.  Here are a few
freeware/shareware ones for you to try:




Wizard? that will do solunar calculations): 

And here are a couple available for purchase:

--Check ?Solunar Services? at their website, given above also, and
click on ?Software? on the lefthand side ($32.25): 

--?Fish ?In Time 2? ($22.50): 


As I said, I hope you will find this additional information useful in
conjunction with the answer above.  Please note search terms provided
below, should you wish to do any further looking around yourself for
more info on this topic.

Best wishes and good luck! 

Search terms that yielded the most useful results:

solunar theory
solunar calculate OR calculation OR calculating
?solunar times? calculate OR calculation OR calculating
solunar times OR periods
sun moon calculator
buy book "moon up moon down" OR "John Alden Knight"

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