Today is 21 June and I want to see at what time I will see shortest shadow in my location.

I am seeing two different times: Solstice time a d Meridian time.

I read that on summer solstice the sun is highest in sky. So I wonder shadow should be smallest at that time?

Following two images are of my location: enter image description here enter image description here

According to second image (visually) I should get shortest shadow on 12:33.

But solstice time is 14:33. So I am confused. Please help me understand.

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    $\begingroup$ Yes. And something slightly related that may be of interest: This fact that the shadow is shortest is used frequently in celestial navigation. If you put a stick in the ground and mark the shadow of the tip frequently, the line between the shortest shadow and the stick is due South. And the angle of the shadow can be used to compute your latitude. $\endgroup$ Jun 21, 2022 at 15:55
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    $\begingroup$ @GregMiller yeah I got shortest shadow at noon (meridian time) i.e., at 12:33 yesterday. Here's a photo: drive.google.com/file/d/1NbQ-WyWvGYOZ1NITGwD-8FR0nPnWy6EW/… $\endgroup$
    – Vikas
    Jun 22, 2022 at 6:58

1 Answer 1


At the meridian.

Each day the sun rises, reaches its highest point on that day at about noon (as it crosses the meridian) and then sets. So length of your shadow will change during the day, and be shortest as the sun crosses the meridan.

But the track of the sun changes over the year. In winter the sun still reaches its highest point of the day at about noon, but the height of that highest point is much lower than in summer.

"Solstice" has two closely related meanings: The moment in time when the Sun reaches its highest declination, and the day on which that moment occurs. The moment of solstice is the same all around the world, so for half the world, the moment solstice will occur during the night. The shortest shadows will be at noon on the day of the solstice.

  • $\begingroup$ Summer solstice means that angular distance between celestial north pole (direction of Earth axis of rotation) and Sun is minimal. $\endgroup$
    – Leos Ondra
    Jun 21, 2022 at 9:14
  • $\begingroup$ Like PM 2Ring said, the current wording you have isn't accurate, the planes don't move that much. I have always used "When the Sun reaches it's highest declination", and if I want to be a little more accurate I add "as viewed from the geocenter". Though there are certainly other ways to rephrase that just as accurately. $\endgroup$ Jun 21, 2022 at 12:31
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    $\begingroup$ I am accepting this answer as it answers my main question. But I could not understand anything about solstice. The "planes" thing is very confusing to me. But I think that is a separate question and I should be looking at other resources. $\endgroup$
    – Vikas
    Jun 22, 2022 at 6:58
  • $\begingroup$ @Vikas Does this help? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… Also see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horizontal_coordinate_system $\endgroup$
    – PM 2Ring
    Jun 22, 2022 at 7:07

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