# How high will the sun be in the sky?

Day arcs of the solstice as seen from 20 degrees latitude. The Sun reaches its highest point at 46.56 degrees altitude in the winter and 93.44 degrees altitude in the summer. In this situation, a greater-than-90-degree angle indicates that the culmination occurs at an altitude of 86.56 degrees in the opposite cardinal direction. The length of day is greatest when the Sun is lowest on the horizon.

The distance between the Earth and the Sun varies over the course of its orbit due to gravitational forces from other bodies. As a result, there are times when the Earth is closest to the Sun and others when it is farthest. These periods of proximity and remoteness are called "eclipses" because they involve the eclipse of one body by another. During a total solar eclipse, the Earth's atmosphere completely blocks out the Sun's light. The only place where this doesn't happen is directly along the path taken by the Moon as it orbits the Earth; here, some of the Sun's light makes it through by refraction in the atmosphere. All around this area, observers see a partial eclipse: The part of the Sun being blocked out varies in size based on how far away they are from the center of the path.

At maximum distance, the diameter of the Sun is about 940,000 km (580,000 miles). At minimum distance, it is only 435,000 km (270,000 miles).

## What angle is the sun in summer?

The Sun's altitude increases as you move away from mid-latitude regions toward the poles, so the high points are reached at different times of day depending on where you live. At the same time, the length of day also changes throughout the year and location on Earth.

In the northern hemisphere, the Sun is said to be in the "summer" position when it is between 15 degrees and 30 degrees north of the equator. At other times of the year, it is either above or below this range. In the southern hemisphere, this range is reversed: When the Sun is between 75 degrees and 90 degrees south of the equator, it is in the "winter" position. Otherwise, it is in the "summer" position.

The Sun's altitude varies over the course of the day because of the Earth's orbit around the Sun. If the Earth were in exactly the same position relative to the Sun each day, then there would be no variation in solar altitude during the year. But since we experience night every day at some time during the year, the Sun must rise higher than it sets in order for humans to have daytime energy levels adequate for our needs.

## Is the North Pole tilted towards the sun in July?

The sun traverses the longest trip through the sky on the summer solstice, therefore that day gets the greatest daylight. When the summer solstice occurs in the Northern Hemisphere, the North Pole is inclined 23.4 degrees (23 degrees 27 degrees) toward the Sun. At the same time, the South Pole is inclined 23.4 degrees away from the Sun.

In other words, for every degree that the pole is tilted one way or another, it receives 1% more light during the day. At the North Pole, this amounts to an additional hour of sunlight per day, while at the South Pole it means less darkness.

This effect is called "daylight savings time". The sun is always below the horizon in Antarctica, so there is no need for any form of seasonal adjustment there. However, due to the tilt of the Earth's axis, we have seasons here on Earth. The fact that the sun is closer to the poles in the winter means that they receive less direct sunlight and lose more heat to space than it does in the summer when the sun is at its most distant point from the earth.

As a result, temperatures vary between the seasons and within each season over time. In the northern hemisphere, winter is when weather patterns are most likely to include cold winds from the Arctic that can cause havoc with aircraft engines; spring and autumn are usually warmer than summer due to ocean currents and vegetation, respectively.

## At what is the northernmost point where the sun’s rays shine directly overhead?

The solstices are the times when the subsolar point reaches its farthest northern and southern latitudes. During the June solstice, the sun's vertical rays touch the Tropic of Cancer, 23.5 degrees north of the Equator. At this time of year in Alaska, the sun never sets; it remains continuously over the horizon. The July solstice marks the same spot on the earth but from a different perspective, since the line of sight now passes through the center of Earth. Because the axis of rotation of our planet is not exactly perpendicular to its surface, the location of the solstices changes somewhat from year to year.

The distance between the two points where the sun is directly over one's head is called the zenith distance. At any given moment during the day, there are areas on all continents that are at least partly shielded from the direct rays of the sun.

These areas include the lower levels of clouds or even ground fog in some cases. But because light travels in a straight line, these shadows are as long as the distance between them. So although the sun may be behind a cloud layer, it still reaches all parts of the shadow simultaneously, just as it does on a clear day.

## At what latitude does the sun appear directly overhead on each of the solstices?

The Earth's North Pole is at its most tilted toward the sun on the June solstice. The sun is directly overhead at 23.5 degrees north latitude, along the Tropic of Cancer, at this hour. The South Pole is at its most tilted away from the sun on the December solstice. The sun is directly overhead at 23.5 degrees south latitude, along the Antarctic Circle.

On the July 2, 2026 solstice, the Northern Hemisphere will be completely aligned with the sun for its annual maximum daylight hours. In the Southern Hemisphere, this alignment will not occur until the July 2, 2036 solstice. The length of a day varies over the course of the year, so these are approximate times when the sun is directly over head.

Astronomers use the word "solstice" to describe an astronomical event that occurs when the angle between a planet and the center of its orbit is smallest or largest. At a solar solstice, the tilt of the earth's axis is closest to 90 degrees to the orbital plane of the sun. At an astronomical equinox, the tilt is exactly 0 degrees, because the orbital plane is perpendicular to the direction of the earth's rotation axis. The term "solstice" comes from Latin meaning "sun stands still," because during a solar solstice the sun appears to stand still in the sky at noon.

#### About Article Author

##### Grace Dye

Grace Dye is a spiritual woman who believes in the power of astrology and mindfulness to help people live their best lives. She has been practicing for over ten years and loves teaching others about it as well. Grace enjoys working with those who are looking for guidance or just want someone to talk to that will be honest with them.