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Bibliographic Information
  1. Creation Myths -- Mother-Father
  2. This Is How The Sun Moves In The Sky Throughout The Year
  3. Sun Position
  4. Similar Questions that might Interest You...

For local times and where to look etc. The planets' apparent size is measured in arcseconds ". For comparison, the Sun and the Moon measure about arcseconds.

Creation Myths -- Mother-Father

We measure the apparent brightness of celestial bodies in magnitude. The brighter a planet shines, the lower the magnitude value. Negative numbers indicate that the planet is very easy to spot in the night sky, even with ambient light. The planets also have phases, like the Moon, but these are not indicated in this chart. The two planets which are closer to the Sun than Earth, Mercury and Venus, have the most easily visible planetary phases, but you need a telescope to see them. All rights reserved. Menu timeanddate.

Tweet Follow. Facebook Twitter. Distance, Brightness, and Size of Planets See how far the planets are from the Sun or Earth current, future, or past plus their brightness and apparent size in sky. Brightness We measure the apparent brightness of celestial bodies in magnitude. The bar below each planet shows brightness.

The Earth goes along its orbit :

The eye icon means that planet is visible with the naked eye, without any equipment, given good conditions on that particular date. It rises somewhere along the eastern horizon and sets somewhere in the west. If you live at a mid-northern latitude most of North America, Europe, Asia, and northern Africa , you always see the noon sun somewhere in the southern sky.

But as the weeks and months pass, you'll notice that the sun's motion isn't quite the same as that of any star. For one thing, the sun takes a full 24 hours to make a complete circle around the celestial sphere, instead of just 23 hours, 56 minutes. For obvious reasons, we define our day based on the motion of the sun, not the stars.

This Is How The Sun Moves In The Sky Throughout The Year

Moreover, the location of the sun's path across the sky varies with the seasons, as shown in the computer-generated image below, which shows the eastern sky, viewed from a mid-northern latitude. This simulated multiple-exposure image shows the path of the rising sun through the eastern sky on the morning of the 21st of each month, from December at the right through June at the left.

The spreading of the trails as they go upward is a distortion caused by stretching the domed sky onto a flat semicircle. The sun's path through the rest of the sky is similarly farther north in June and farther south in December. In summary:.

The sun appears to move along with the celestial sphere on any given day, but follows different circles at different times of the year: most northerly at the June solstice and most southerly at the December solstice. At the equinoxes, the sun's path follows the celestial equator. At the equinoxes, exactly half of the sun's circular path lies above the horizon. But notice that in June, considerably more than half of the circle is above the horizon, while in December, much less than half the circle is visible. This is why, if you live in the north, you have more hours of daylight in June during your summer than in December during your winter.

The added hours of daylight are one reason why summer is warmer than winter. But there's another reason that's even more important: the angle of the mid-day sun. Notice from the illustrations above that the noon sun is much higher in June than in December.

What Does the Sky Look Like on other Planets and Moons?

This means that the sun's rays strike the ground more directly in June. In December, on the other hand, the same amount of energy is diluted over a larger area of ground:. The intensity of sunlight striking the ground depends on the sun's angle in the sky. When the sun is at a lower angle, the same amount of energy is spread over a larger area of ground, so the ground is heated less.

Sun Position

There is a common misconception that summer is warmer than winter because the sun is closer to us in the summer. Actually the sun's distance hardly changes at all—and in fact, the sun happens to be closest to us in January. Again, the seasonal changes in climate are caused by the varying angle of the sun's rays, together with the varying amount of time that the sun is above our horizon. Although we never see the sun and the stars at the same time, it's not especially hard to figure out which stars and constellations the sun is lined up with on any given day: Just look at the constellations in the east a little before sunrise, or the constellations in the west a little after sunset, and allow for the angle of the sun below your horizon.

The ecliptic is a great circle on the celestial sphere, tipped Its orientation with respect to our horizon changes as the sphere spins around us each day. It has the orientation shown here at noon in December and at midnight in June. If you plot the sun's daily location on a star chart or celestial globe, you'll find that it gradually traces out a great circle, called the ecliptic. So the ecliptic is an imaginary circle around the celestial sphere, centered on us, that marks all the possible locations of the sun with respect to the constellations. Each day, as the sun takes four minutes longer than the constellations to spin around us, it creeps approximately one degree eastward along the ecliptic. It completes the circle in exactly one full year The ecliptic intersects the celestial equator at two opposite points, the sun's locations at the equinoxes. But the ecliptic is tipped at a The sun reaches the ecliptic's northernmost point at the June solstice, and reaches its southernmost point at the December solstice.

The constellations of the zodiac are simply those that happen to lie along the ecliptic. According to the modern official constellation boundaries, however, most of the Scorpius portion of the ecliptic actually lies in the adjacent constellation Ophiuchus.

Similar Questions that might Interest You...

In this degree map of the entire celestial sphere, the north celestial pole is stretched across the top edge and the south celestial pole across the bottom edge. The celestial equator is marked in blue, and the 12 constellations of the zodiac are outlined.

The ecliptic, shown in yellow, marks the sun's annual path among the stars. At the March equinox the sun is at the far right, in Pisces.

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The sun drifts leftward by about one degree per day, moving first into the northern half of the sky and then, after the September equinox, into the southern half. The sun's location with respect to the stars doesn't depend on your observing location on earth, so you now know enough to figure out how the sun appears to move through the sky from other locations. If you travel east or west, you'll see the sun rise and set earlier or later, respectively, just like a star would.

Again, we partially compensate for this by setting our clocks to different time zones. If you travel north or south, the sun's daily motion is still the same as that of a star seen from your latitude. So at the equinoxes, for example, the sun still follows the celestial equator, while at the solstices, the sun follows a circle that lies If you can visualize the paths of stars on these parts of the celestial sphere, then you can visualize the daily path of the sun.

So, for example, as you travel northward from Utah, you'll see the noon sun get lower and lower in the southern sky. Eventually you'll come to a latitude where the noon sun at the December solstice lies on your southern horizon; this latitude, North of the Arctic Circle there will be days around the December solstice when the sun never rises. What's a little less obvious is that at the Arctic Circle on the June solstice, the sun never sets—it merely grazes the northern horizon at midnight see the illustration below.