Path of the Sun on the Days of the Equinox and Solstice

March 19, 2020


March 2020 Viewer's ChoicePhotographer: Marcella Giulia Pace
Summary Authors: Marcella Giulia Pace; Giuseppe De Donà

This image shows the (apparent) path of the Sun from about noon to sunset during the days of the equinoxes and the summer and winter solstices. I made these observations from Gatto Corvino village, Sicily, Italy. To show as much of the path as possible, I chose a field where the western horizon was clearly visible and always shot from the same spot -- every 10 minutes, beginning at true local noon.

At the time of the equinoxes, the Sun is approximately 53 degrees above this field at local noon. By the time of the summer solstice, the Sun reaches 77 degrees, but in December, it’s just 30 degrees above the field at local noon. Note that on the day of the vernal and autumnal equinoxes, for any latitude on Earth, the Sun rises exactly in the east and sets exactly in the west.

Photo Details: Camera: NIKON D7100; Software: Adobe Photoshop CC 2014 (Macintosh); Exposure Time: 1/800 sec; Aperture: ƒ/22; ISO equivalent: 100; Focal Length (35mm): 16; Lens: Tokina AT-X 116 PRO DX 11-16mm F2.8.