The brief answer is – a Minecraft day is 20 minutes long with two light settings (day/night).
The programming is set to remain 72x quicker than real time. This means if there are 24 hours during the day, you will have played 72 days worth of Minecraft. Similar conversions can be used for other time slots such as 1 Minecraft minute = 0.83 seconds.
For those wanting to dig deeper into understanding how the Minecraft clock functions, here’s a detailed look of how everything works.
Each Minecraft day begins at 0:00 (game clock) and continues until it’s night. In real time, this period lasts exactly 10 minutes.
When the game is activated, the player will spawn in single-player mode, which also initiates the day-night process as mentioned above. However, for those playing on multiplayer servers, the start is set for daytime, but it doesn’t chop and change as new players enter. This means if a player enters an ongoing multiplayer game, they will be asked to follow the internal clock.
Daytime is noticeable as the sun will rise and the sky becomes light blue. However, the sky’s color may vary depending on the setting as certain settings are going to have a light blue, while others are going to have a much darker hue. This has to do with the environment (i.e. desert).
It is at noon when the sunlight begins to stream in and all vertical viewing blocks (pointed to the sky) receive direct sunlight. This means the light level is set at 15, which makes it easier for the grass blocks, saplings, and/or crops to grow. In the same sense, blocks that include zombies and/or skeletons are going to end up on fire if they are not in the shade, in water, or wearing helmets.
Sunlight during this period may also have an effect on other elements of the setting including animals such as spiders. The only time spiders can get past this hurdle is if they are chasing an active player.
For endermen, sunlight exposure during the day will cause them to teleport, but they will also become neutralized too.
Players will also notice a brief change in daylight sensors during this period. The sensors are going to hit their peak output level.
While Minecraft is generally built around the concept of day/night during a 20-minute period, there is a short “sunset” which lasts for exactly 90 seconds.
When the sun begins to set, it will set from the west, while the moon begins to rise from the opposite side. Please note, this may vary depending on the version of the game you are playing. Certain versions have the sun setting in the south and the moon rising in the north. When this does occur, it will be obvious during the 90 seconds as the sun is going to begin glowing with an orange-red hue. It will also become larger.
During this period, the blocks that are vertically in line with the sky aren’t going to be lit and the level is going to drop by 1 every 10 seconds.
Players can sleep during this period. For single players, this will help speed up the day-night cycle and make the weather adjust to clear. For multiplayer, the weather is going to look the same, but it’s only possible if every single player on the server goes to bed at the same time. In other ways, time is not going to be sped up, which means food will cook at the same pace and the crops are going to grow at the same rate too.
The night is slightly shorter than daytime in Minecraft and comes out to be exactly 7 minutes long.
When it is dark outside, the moon is going to be out and the sky will be a dark blue with small starts spread out. These starts are going to generally remain in sync with the moon and will only pop up when the sun has fully set.
When it is nighttime, players will notice darkness and the light level is going to reach 4. This often coincides with mobs spawning in the environment. When the mobs do spawn, they are going to be set up in exposed parts of the setting for 9625 ticks. As for the crops, they are going to continue to go at the same speed even when it is dark.
Players can skip the night period by going to bed.
As for the inverted daylight sensors, they are going to hit peak output level during the night.
Just like the sun setting, there is a sunrise period in Minecraft too. This is going to last just as long as the sunset at 90 seconds.
When the sun rises, the moon is going to begin to set in the west and the sun is going to rise in the east. Like before, this may vary depending on the version of the game being played. The sun will become larger due to this as well before shrinking to its normal size.
When this happens, all blocks vertically viewing the sky are going to see a rise of 1 light level per 10 seconds. This will also see the hostile mobs simmer down and disappear.
There is a twilight period that tends to last approximately 4 minutes (real-time) and in some cases, hostile mobs do pop up during this part of the day.
It’s important to note, players are not always going to have a direct view of the sky. This means there is a separate way to determine Minecraft time during the day, especially when playing underground. The clock ensures players can time everything and not end up on the wrong end of an attack by hostile mobs.
Also, certain parts of the world aren’t going to be impacted by the day-night cycle (i.e. the Nether and the End).
For gamers, certain commands can be set up, which will adjust it to dawn, midday, dusk, midnight, and other parts of the day.