How Sun’s Position Change in the Sky?

24 Apr 2020
Earth and Sun, the orbital motion

If you notice the rising position of the sun throughout the year, you will see a great change. As earth rotates around the sun in its orbit in a year, when it completes one rotation the sun will return to its starting point.

As you all know Sun does not move, rather earth moves around sun. Therefore we would call it Sun’s apparent motion in the horizon. Actually the earth is tilted on axis at 23.5 degrees which makes the north or south pole to come in front of or away from sun. When your hemisphere is tilted towards Sun, the Sun’s maximum position will rise close to zenith, while the other hemisphere will tilt away from Sun, therefore the Sun’s maximum position will depart farther from it.

When your hemisphere is tilted towards Sun, the Sun crosses a long path in the sky and rises higher in the horizon, thus giving us more daylight than night. The season on that hemisphere will be summer. Therefore there is a big difference in the length of day and night in summer and winter. The axial tilt makes these seasons to occur, the longest and shortest day are also related to it. And these solar terms have been celebrated on earth from ancient times. Summer solstice festivals are and have been more significant in northern hemisphere.

Generally, the Sun appears to rise in the eastern part of the sky, then rise up in the equatorial direction and finally lowers and sets down in the west.

  • Southern Hemisphere:
    June solstice marks Sun’s shortest path.
    December solstice marks Sun’s longest path.
  • Northern Hemisphere:
    June solstice marks Sun’s longest path.
    December solstice marks Sun’s shortest path.
  • Equator
    The sun will pass directly over head on the both solstices.

The earth orbits in a elliptical path, therefore the position and path of Sun is not in a symmetrical way. There will be slight differences and time changes. Kepler’s Second law defines this motion in a better way.

I think this is simple to understand till here, you may read in more detail about the topic on the below article: https://www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/2019/01/01/this-is-how-the-sun-moves-in-the-sky-throughout-the-year/#73be0b157303

Leave a reply