Monday, June 12, 2017

Answer: Finding shadows in ball parks?

There's simple.. and then there's simple...  

The FIRST version of this week's SRS Challenge was a bit too simple.  Finding shade at Yankee Stadium (along with several other stadiums) is pretty easy:  lots of fans have written up guides to sun and shade.  That's a handy thing to remember.  

So a query like: 

     [ sun shade yankee stadium ] 

will find notes from all of the fans, documenting where to sit to be in the shade.  
Too easy.  

So let me rewrote the Challenge just a bit to make it more general... 

1.  My brother has changed his mind, and now he's going to see a baseball game at the Red Wings baseball stadium in Rochester, New York on June 11th.  The game starts at 1PM.  Where can I get a seat that will be both near the field and in the shade for the whole game?

Here's  Frontier Field, located in downtown Rochester. Founded in 1899, the Red Wings are the oldest continuously operating sports franchise in North America below the major league level. Located at 43.1551745,-77.6196905 (lat, long). 

More to the point, I would like a method that lets me figure out the shadows for anyplace--be it Frontier Field in Rochester, or a lesser-known place like Kezar Stadium in San Francisco that doesn't have a stable fan base to write out such notes!  

As we've discussed before, the ideal solution would be to find a tool that let's you figure out the sun and shade for any place.  (And an even BETTER solution would let you create a 3D model of the stadium)  

So my goal is to find such a tool.  My first query was: 

     [ finding shadows tool ] 

which led me to -- a web tool designed exactly for such a thing!  

So let's go back to Yankee Stadium and figure out where the shadows will be for the game.  (You can do this same process for Frontier Field...) 

When you go to the site, you can selection the location (see the lat / long box in the upper left), select the date (calendar).  The sun position chart shows sunrise (the green arrow on the right, showing it rising in the east) and sunset (the red arrow on the left).  

Note that you can also set the Timezone (which for this time of year is EDT -- or UTC-5 (which is the same as "5 hours before GMT").  

Once you've got these location and time set up, you can bring in an aerial image (of Yankee Stadium), and THEN you can draw in the relevant walls of the stadium. 

You click on "Background Image: (choose file)" to upload the image of the stadium. 

Then you can move the brown boxes to approximate the edges of stadium.  (Drag the corners to move them side-to-side, and click on the green center dot to rotate the rectangle.) 

Note that I filled in the height parameter (bottom line of the interface--it's 123 feet high--I looked it up), so the gray shadows show the actual shadows at that time (1PM) in this stadium (the model of Yankee stadium). 

With this tool, you can model shadows for anyplace you might like, such as Estadio Azteca (located at 19.303204,-99.1516849), Kezar Stadium, or Frontier Field in Rochester!  

Estadio Azteca, with a difficult shadow line.  Be sure you sit in the shade! 

Of course, if you want, you can grab a seating chart image, then rotate, scale it, and make it transparent to see which seats you might like to have.  Here's a closeup of me doing that.  I find where the shadow is, then pull up the translucency so I can find out what section and seats are there. 

When you play around with this (as I did), you can see that most of the seats along the first base side of the field (lower left) are in the shade starting at 1PM.  But advancing the clock to 3PM, you'll find that some of the seats near home plate start to get some sun!  

In any event, now you know how to figure out the sun orientation (and shade patterns) for basically any place in the world.  You can now go to that sports event confident that you'll be in the shade the entire time.  (Or not, as you wish.)  

In the process of playing around with, I also ran across a really interesting article on the physics and factors involved--"Lost in the park: The physics of ballpark orientation," which is a fascinating read.  

Search Lessons 

There really is only one giant take-away from this week's Challenge, but it's an important one: 

1.  ALWAYS look for a tool when you're trying to do tool-like searches.  A good query is to search for the basics (e.g., [ sun shade .. ] and add in tool  Yes, there are fan tables of sunshine and shade, but many of them are for specific days in the year and for a specific location. is purpose-built for this kind of thing.  It's almost certainly better than any table you're going to find.  (Although it is a bit more complicated to use!)  

That was fun.  Up next--even more fun in searching out the unusual and obscure.  

Search on!  


  1. Hello Dr. Russell. I tried the Find my shade and couldn't understand the boxes you moved. I moved them but not like you did. Therefore, my result was bad.

    The tool I found, is also good and also complicated to understand but knowing these tools gave me new knowledge and reading the links and the article you mentioned also fantastic findings.

  2. … who needs shade when you are a movie star?
    Kezar Stadium and a co-star
    in the Mountain View Cemetery Oakland Alameda County California, USA
    the wiki scoop
    … the last item on the list caught my attention —
    Prohibited Items Inside the Stadium:
    • Large bags over 14” by 14” in size
    • Outside alcohol and any kind of beverages
    • Bikes, pedicabs, roller skates, roller blades, skateboards, “Razor” style boards, Segway personal transports, hover boards, or any other self-propelled device
    • Drones
    • Coolers or containers of any type, including bottles or cans
    • Firearms, fireworks, explosives & smoke bombs
    • Sticks, rods, selfie sticks, bars or poles of any kind
    • Dangerous weapons including any type of edged weapons, including, but not limited to, knives, impact weapons and electric pulse weapons
    • Sprays & pepper sprays
    • Laser pointers
    • Stunning devices
    • Shopping carts
    • Offensive weapons
    • Folding chairs or lawn chairs
    • Illegal drugs or substances
    • Smoking cigarettes or e-cigarettes, chewing tobacco
    • Radios, walkie talkies, jammers, scanners
    • Vuvuzelas, whistles, and portable speakers
    • Hazardous and toxic materials
    • Pets and animals, dead or alive, will not be permitted in Kezar Stadium during SF Deltas home games — exceptions are service dogs.
    • Any item deemed inappropriate or hazardous by SF Deltas & Admiral Security
    • Those over a certain age who insist on wearing yoga pants
    • Hominoids with low conviviality skills
    • Any electronic device beginning with "i"
    • Imaginary celebrities or political figures
    • Devices that use any Search Engine other than Google

    fwiw: "Please note: STAY AWAY FROM FREDERICK STREET! The community on Frederick St. and across from the Stadium was very vocal of their displeasure with having a Pro Soccer Team playing across the street."

  3. Replies
    1. Hi Remmij. The creater really looks old. And the hyperboreae looks like elephant's skin. About NASA, I just read today they will try to create multicolored clouds to study movements of small particles

  4. This is a bit off topic, but I was wondering if there is a way to order Google search results by date. I did a search on ["search lessons" ] to get a list of the search lessons you provide in the various challenges. I'd like to be able to order my search results by date, with the most recent one first. Is there a way to do that?

    1. Hi Diane. You can go to search tools and select some date options. Other way is adding inurl the year you want

    2. Yes, but that's not exactly what I want. I want to be able to take the search results list, which may cover a range of years, and arrange it in date order.

    3. Diane, I'm not much in the help realm, but this may be along the lines of what you are searching for… Ramón was correct, but this may be a little more clear…
      in this example I used [search results] as the query –
      • in the 1st illustration you see the usual result search box - to the right, under the search box, click 'tools'
      • in the 2nd illustration you will see a new drop down menu option appear, click 'Anytime' and another drop down
      will appear, 'Anytime' is the default setting but you will see a number of different options including a custom setting…
      for this example I choose 'Past Year'
      • in illustration 3 - just to the right of 'Past Year' you will see 'Sorted by relevance' click that to get the next drop down menu
      you will see 'Sorted by date' (illustration 4) click that & I think you will find what you are looking for - by default it is arranged from the most recent.
      illustrations 1 – 4
      using your original query ["search lessons"]

    4. Thanks, Remmij. Yesterday when I commented, didn't notice the "Custom Range" nor the sorted by relevance and Sorted by date. Later will check that on mobile. In Spanish Verbatim, says "palabra por palabra" (Word by word). I have never tried the Verbatim so I'll try that and see what I find.

    5. … meant to add, for chronological searches on Dan's site, Blogger in general, and many other web sites, going through the archive
      can be useful:
      archive location
      and using the blogger search box, upper left on page, can be a quick way to find related topics and dates…
      example: searching the word 'search lessons' — sorted by date.
      can sort by date or relevance…
      blogger search
      relevance example

    6. These are great, Remmij. I'll write up something to highlight this today!