At places other than the poles, the sun is seen to "rise" on the Eastern horizon and to "set" on the Western horizon. After a period of night, the sun "reappears" on the Eastern horizon.

At the poles, during the short periods of 24-hour daylight, what does the sun path look like? Where does the sun move after it has reached its Western most position? Back Eastwards along the same path in reverse?


1 Answer 1


It moves in circles. At the poles there is no direction defined (east, west, north or south).

This is how the sun moves at the north pole: http://www.jaloxa.eu/resources/daylighting/docs/sunpath_90_north.pdf . You can compare it to the other latitudes to get an idea. (http://www.jaloxa.eu/resources/daylighting/sunpath.shtml)

  • $\begingroup$ I don't know how to interpret the red lines on the diagrams. $\endgroup$
    – SabreWolfy
    Commented Jul 5, 2014 at 15:11
  • $\begingroup$ By "circles", do you mean the sun moves around the entire horizon (360 degrees)? $\endgroup$
    – SabreWolfy
    Commented Jul 5, 2014 at 15:12
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Yes. It moves around the 360 degree horizon at a nearly constant altitude. This altitude slowly varies over a year from -23.5 degrees to +23.5 degrees and back. In the diagrams, the solid lines are the paths of the sun over one day (projection of the celestial sphere on to the ground plane) as marked for specific days. The dashed lines indicate the positions at every hour of every day over the course of a year (you'll only see the odd hour lines at the poles because the even hour lines coincide with the polar grid). $\endgroup$
    – Takku
    Commented Jul 5, 2014 at 15:28
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks. I wondered why this YouTube video showed the sun moving around the entire horizon :) youtube.com/watch?v=ZZcafg-meJA $\endgroup$
    – SabreWolfy
    Commented Jul 5, 2014 at 15:32
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @SabreWolfy The youtube video was done at a location just north of the Arctic Circle. If it was taken at the North Pole (1) there would be no land (2) the sun would be at nearly the same elevation throughout the entire day. $\endgroup$
    – LDC3
    Commented Jul 5, 2014 at 15:50

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