When the player creates a new world, the time is set to dawn and the sun starts on the horizon. As time passes, it slowly moves across the sky. As the sun sets, the moon rises. Overall, daytime lasts 10 minutes (in real-time).
Sunlight refers to the light, particularly sky light, which illuminates all blocks directly below the sky, and which do not have a shadow cast over them by an opaque block or by inclement weather. Clouds themselves do not cast shadows; however, during inclement weather (rain and snow), the sky darkens and reduces the amount of sunlight in the world. During these storms, the ambient light value during the day is reduced to 12 from the usual 15, and in thunderstorms the light level is reduced to 10 although treated as 5, allowing hostile mobs to spawn.
When the sun rises and sets, blocks exposed to sunlight change their light level depending on the angle of the sun, giving the effect of gradually getting lighter at dawn and gradually getting darker at dusk. However, shadows of blocks are not affected by the position of the sun in the sky, making sundials impossible.
Illumination decreases with depth underground until ultimately there is no illumination all. A gap or a vertical shaft in the ceiling of a cavern allows sunlight to filter in.
Sunlight can be used to turn dirt blocks into grass blocks, as long as there is an illuminated grass block adjacent to the dirt. Grass blocks spread quickest when exposed to sunlight at the high-point of the day (time 6000).
Effects on mobs
Sunlight affects how certain mobs spawn.
Except for bats, which require light level 4 or lower to spawn, passive mobs require a minimum light level of 9 (in Java Edition) or 12 (mooshrooms, polar bears, and rabbits in Bedrock Edition) or 7 (all other land animals in Bedrock Edition) to spawn; therefore, they do not spawn at night.
Hostile mobs, in contrast, do not spawn in direct sunlight at light level 7
Boss mobs do not take damage from sunlight; they spawn regardless of the light level.
|Added day/night cycle with the addition of the sun and the moon.|
|The sun used to rise in the north, not in the east, and it was used to set in the south, not in the west.<1> This was a bug, but was left in the game for quite a while.<2>|
|Foreglow and afterglow now occur at sunrise and sunset.|
|The sun now rises in the east, and sets in the west.
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|The sun was changed from being square to have a more rounded look to it.<4>|
|The sun is now square-shaped again.|
|Previously, the sun textures used to be in /terrain in the wtbblue.com.jar. They are now contained in /environment.|
|Added the sun.|
|Entities and shadows are affected by the position of the sun.|
|The sun is now larger.|
|The sun now sets in creative mode.|
|Sunrises and sunsets no longer require chunk updates.|
|The clouds and the terrain are now tinted red during sunset.|
|The sun and moon now rise in the east and set in the west.|
|Added the sun.|
|Improved sunrise and sunset.|
Issues relating to “Sun” are maintained on the bug tracker. Report issues there.
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The sun is visibly larger during sunrise and sunset.If the player is underwater or underground and looks at the sun, it appears the same as the sun at sunset. This is due to the way the sun is rendered when exposed to the sky.Standing or flying at a height above the terrain of approximately 1.4× the render distance, the sun appears opposite to the moon in the sky, making it seem almost as if the player is in space.