🔎 🌎 EN Class code 🔑 Log in Subscription

Sun's Apparent Path (North) HTML5


We all know that it is the Earth that moves around the Sun. But for us, on Earth, it is the Sun that seems to move around the Earth, from East to West. This is what is called the apparent pathof the Sun. It varies from season to season. It varies even more when the place of observation is at high latitude.


  • This animation illustrates the apparent path of the Sun for an observer in the Northern Hemisphere, between 40° and 50° of latitude. Someone living in the Southern Hemisphere sees the Sun toward the North, but still moving from East to West.
  • Hours are expressed in Solar Time: noon (12:00) is the moment at which the Sun attains its maximum elevation.

Learning goals

  • To define day and night.
  • To show that the length of the day changes according to the seasons.
  • To show that the distance of the Sun above the horizon, at the same time of day, varies with the seasons.
  • To study the variations in the lengths of shadows during the course of a day, and to introduce the sundial.
  • To recall the etymology of the word "equinox".

Learn more

Let's look at the Sun's path  for four specific dates:

At the Summer Solstice, the Sun rises around 4 AM, and sets around 8 PM (Solar Time). This is the longest day (16 hours), and the shortest…

Subscribe now to read more about this topic!