Six Months of Tracking the Sun Across the Sky

February 09, 2011


Photographer: Greg Parker
Summary Authors: Greg Parker; Jim FosterFebruary 2011 Earth Science Picture of the Day Viewer's Choice

The image above is a result of tracking the Sun each day as it moved across the sky above Southampton, England, between the summer solstice (June 21) and the winter solstice (December 21) of 2010. It was produced using a pinhole camera image of the Sun during its daily traverse of my southern horizon. The winter Sun at this latitude hugs the horizon; whereas the summer Sun, at solar noon, is approximately 60 degrees above the horizon in late June and early July. It’s evident that the summer weather in merry olde England was a bit glum last year – the gaps in the individual tracks (upper center) are caused by clouds obscuring the Sun. Autumn was much more agreeable.

This little camera was made from an aluminum beer can (the contents were removed before use), which is the perfect size for standard photographic paper. The 0.8mm pinhole was drilled using a printed circuit board drill. The light object at lower center is the fiberglass dome of my observatory (New Forest Observatory).