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Sunset vs. Twilight: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
"Sunset" is the daily event of the sun descending below the horizon, while "Twilight" is the time period of diffused light after sunset and before night.
Sunset vs. Twilight

Key Differences

"Sunset" specifically refers to the moment when the sun goes below the horizon, marking the end of daylight. "Twilight," in contrast, is the period following sunset, characterized by gradually fading light and the transition into night.
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Nov 23, 2023
Sunsets are known for their vivid colors and the distinct appearance of the sun at the horizon. Twilight is noted for its soft, diffused light, often casting a blue hue and elongating shadows.
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Nov 23, 2023
The duration of a sunset is relatively short, lasting only a few minutes as the sun dips below the horizon. Twilight, however, can last from 20 to 50 minutes, depending on geographical location and time of year.
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Nov 23, 2023
Sunsets often symbolize endings, finality, or the passage of time in literature and art. Twilight is frequently associated with mystery, transformation, and the threshold between day and night.
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Nov 23, 2023
Photographers and artists prize the unique lighting conditions of both sunset and twilight. Sunset offers dramatic lighting and colors, while twilight provides a softer, more even light.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 23, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Definition

Sun descending below the horizon
Time of diffused light after sunset
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Nov 23, 2023

Visuals

Vivid colors, clear view of the sun
Soft, blue-toned light, subtle shadows
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Nov 23, 2023

Duration

Brief, a few minutes
Longer, up to 50 minutes
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Nov 23, 2023

Symbolism

Endings, passage of time
Mystery, transition
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Nov 23, 2023

Photographic Appeal

Dramatic lighting, color
Even, subtle lighting
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Nov 23, 2023
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Sunset and Twilight Definitions

Sunset

End of the daytime
They planned their event to coincide with the sunset.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 23, 2023

Twilight

Setting for certain tales and folklore
Legends often speak of mysterious creatures appearing at twilight.
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Nov 23, 2023

Sunset

Aesthetic phenomenon in nature
The couple enjoyed watching the sunset on their vacation.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 23, 2023

Twilight

Period after sunset before dark night
Twilight fell, casting a serene glow over the city.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 23, 2023

Sunset

Symbol of ending or completion
Her retirement marked the sunset of a remarkable career.
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Nov 23, 2023
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Twilight

The diffused light from the sky during the early evening or early morning when the sun is below the horizon and its light is refracted by the earth's atmosphere.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Sunset

The event or time of the disappearance of the upper circumferential edge of the sun as it sets below the horizon.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Twilight

The time of the day when the sun is just below the horizon, especially the period between sunset and dark.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Sunset

The sky as the sun sets
A rosy sunset.
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Oct 19, 2023

Twilight

Dim or diffused illumination.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Sunset

A decline or final phase
The sunset of an empire.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Twilight

A period or condition of decline following growth, glory, or success
In the twilight of his life.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Sunset

(Law) The automatic expiration of a statutory provision on a previously established date, in the absence of reauthorization
The law's sunset was July 1.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Twilight

A state of ambiguity or obscurity.
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Oct 19, 2023

Sunset

(Law) Providing for an automatic expiration.
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Oct 19, 2023

Twilight

The soft light in the sky seen before the rising and (especially) after the setting of the sun, occasioned by the illumination of the earth’s atmosphere by the direct rays of the sun and their reflection on the earth.
I could just make out her face in the twilight.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Sunset

To expire on a previously established date, as a statutory provision.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Twilight

The time when this light is visible; the period between daylight and darkness.
It was twilight by the time I got back home.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Sunset

To provide for the expiration of (a program or agency) by means of a sunset provision.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Twilight

(astronomy) The time when the sun is less than 18° below the horizon.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Sunset

The moment each evening when the sun disappears below the western horizon.
At sunset
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Twilight

Any faint light through which something is seen; an in-between or fading condition.
The twilight of one's life
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Sunset

The changes in color of the sky before and after sunset.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Twilight

Pertaining to or resembling twilight; faintly illuminated; obscure.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Sunset

(figuratively) The final period of the life of a person or thing.
One's sunset years
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Twilight

To illuminate faintly.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Sunset

(attributively) A set termination date.
The tax increase legislation included a sunset clause requiring renewal to prevent the tax increase from expiring.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Twilight

The light perceived before the rising, and after the setting, of the sun, or when the sun is less than 18° below the horizon, occasioned by the illumination of the earth's atmosphere by the direct rays of the sun and their reflection on the earth.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Sunset

The region where the sun sets; the west.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Twilight

Faint light; a dubious or uncertain medium through which anything is viewed.
As when the sun . . . from behind the moon,In dim eclipse, disastrous twilight sheds.
The twilight of probability.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Sunset

To phase out.
We’ll be sunsetting version 1.9 of the software shortly after releasing version 2.0 next quarter.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Twilight

Seen or done by twilight.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Sunset

The descent of the sun below the horizon; also, the time when the sun sets; evening. Also used figuratively.
'T is the sunset of life gives me mystical lore.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Twilight

Imperfectly illuminated; shaded; obscure.
O'er the twilight groves and dusky caves.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Sunset

Hence, the region where the sun sets; the west.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Twilight

The time of day immediately following sunset;
He loved the twilight
They finished before the fall of night
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Sunset

The time in the evening at which the sun begins to fall below the horizon
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Twilight

The diffused light from the sky when the sun is below the horizon but its rays are refracted by the atmosphere of the earth
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Sunset

Atmospheric phenomena accompanying the daily disappearance of the sun
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Twilight

A condition of decline following successes;
In the twilight of the empire
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Sunset

The daily event of the sun sinking below the horizon
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Twilight

Lighted by or as if by twilight;
The dusky night rides down the sky/And ushers in the morn
The twilight glow of the sky
A boat on a twilit river
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Sunset

Of a declining industry or technology;
Sunset industries
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Twilight

Time of dim, indirect light
He enjoyed reading in the twilight hours for its calm.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 23, 2023

Sunset

Providing for termination;
A program with a sunset provision
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Twilight

Symbol of transition or change
The twilight of her youth was filled with new experiences.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 23, 2023

Sunset

Daily descent of the sun below the horizon
The sunset painted the sky in hues of orange and pink.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 23, 2023

Twilight

Metaphor for a state of ambiguity
His feelings for her were in a twilight, neither friendship nor love.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 23, 2023

Sunset

Time for specific activities
Fishermen often go out at sunset for a better catch.
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Nov 23, 2023

Repeatedly Asked Queries

What is the scientific cause of a sunset?

A sunset occurs due to the sun setting below the horizon, influenced by Earth's rotation.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 23, 2023

Can twilight occur in the morning?

Yes, the twilight before sunrise is known as dawn or morning twilight.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 23, 2023

Are sunsets longer at the equator?

Sunsets at the equator are generally quicker due to the Earth's tilt and rotation speed.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 23, 2023

Is sunset the same worldwide?

No, the time and appearance of sunset vary depending on geographical location.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 23, 2023

Does twilight affect photography?

Yes, twilight offers unique lighting conditions that are favored in photography.
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Nov 23, 2023

What causes the colors during twilight?

Twilight's colors result from the scattering of sunlight by the atmosphere as the sun sets.
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Nov 23, 2023

How is twilight defined in astronomy?

Astronomically, twilight is defined by the sun's position below the horizon, in degrees.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 23, 2023

Do sunsets vary seasonally?

Yes, the timing and appearance of sunsets change with the seasons.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 23, 2023

Is sunset a precise moment?

Yes, sunset refers to the exact moment the sun crosses the horizon line.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 23, 2023

How long does twilight last?

Twilight duration varies, lasting from 20 to 50 minutes based on location and season.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 23, 2023

Is sunset the same as dusk?

No, sunset is the moment the sun sets, while dusk is part of the twilight period after it.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 23, 2023

What are the types of twilight?

There are three types: civil, nautical, and astronomical twilight, based on the sun's position.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 23, 2023

Why are some sunsets more colorful?

Atmospheric conditions like dust and pollution can enhance the colors of a sunset.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 23, 2023

Is twilight considered day or night?

Twilight is a transitional period, neither fully day nor night.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 23, 2023

Can twilight influence animal behavior?

Yes, twilight often triggers specific behaviors in animals, like returning to nests.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 23, 2023

Do sunsets differ in urban vs. rural areas?

Yes, visibility and colors of sunsets can be affected by the environment.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 23, 2023

Can sunset times be predicted?

Yes, sunset times can be accurately predicted and are often listed in almanacs and weather reports.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 23, 2023

Can sunsets affect mood?

Yes, sunsets can have a calming effect and influence people's mood positively.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 23, 2023

Why is twilight important for sailors?

For sailors, twilight provides important light conditions for navigation and safety.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 23, 2023

Does twilight have cultural significance?

Yes, twilight holds various cultural and symbolic meanings in different societies.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 23, 2023

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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