# How does the sun move across the sky?

Because the Earth rotates or spins toward the east, the Sun, Moon, planets, and stars all rise in the east and move westward across the sky. You'd still be travelling, but in a circle as the Earth rotates on its axis. Because of this movement, the daytime sky is never the same from one day to the next or even from one year to the next. The Sun rises each morning over a different part of the globe, and sets every evening over a different part of the planet.

The Sun appears to move across the sky because it is so far away from the Earth that it takes 24 hours for it to complete an orbit. If the Sun was close to the Earth, then it would appear to move faster than 24 miles (39 km) per hour because you could see it cross the sky in a matter of minutes instead of hours.

## Does the sun rotate from east to west?

For the time being, consider only one motion: the Earth's spin (or rotation) on its axis. But because it takes 24 hours for the Earth to complete a rotation, at some point during each day all of these body will be again be rising in the east and moving westward.

However, because of the tilt of the Earth's axis, the amount that the Earth is tilted away from the Sun varies with location on the planet. The closer that you are to the equator, the more upright the Earth is relative to the orbit of the Sun, and so more of the Sun's rays fall on any given region. Conversely, those near the poles are acutely angled toward the Sun, and so see it slip beneath the horizon even while it is still shining high in the sky.

This is why seasons exist: it's not that the Earth orbits the Sun, it's that the Earth has a tilt that causes four distinct seasons. In the Northern Hemisphere, where we live, spring occurs when the Earth is most inclined toward the Sun, summer when it's at its highest point, autumn when it's at its lowest point, and winter when the Earth is again oriented away from the Sun.

## Where does the Sun rise in the sky?

The Sun, Moon, planets, and stars all rise and set in the east and west, respectively. That's because the Earth rotates eastward. The northern part of the planet is always facing toward the Sun, while the southern part is always facing away. At any given moment, only a small portion of the surface is exposed to sunlight, but over time every part receives light from the Sun.

In addition to these two motions there is another important factor that determines where on Earth objects appear to rise and set: their locations on the earth relative to the center of Earth. The location of the center of Earth changes due to gravitational forces from Earth's mass. The result is that places near or under large bodies of rock or ice will appear to move around their primary axis (east-west for the Moon, north-south for the planets) as they orbit around the center of Earth. The farther from a body's center you are, the faster it appears to move.

So if you were on the moon, everything on the moon would appear to rise exactly once per day, along with the Sun and Moon. But on Earth, objects such as ships and airplanes appear to rise more than once per day because we see more than one place on them at a time.

##### Kimberly Farmer

Kimberly Farmer has over ten years of experience in healing work and offers guidance on how to heal oneself from emotional wounds that have been accumulated through life events such as trauma, illness or loss. Kimberly also provides help for those who wish to develop their intuition so they can take better care of themselves and others. In addition, she teaches meditation classes which focus on making your meditation practice more sustainable so it becomes an integral part of your everyday life.