Path of sun?

topsiebeezelbub(z7 Al)September 21, 2012

I feel very stupid, but I can't remember how the path of the sun changes in winter (brain aint what it used to be). I am noticing my sunny spots are not sunny. Can someone help me predict which way it is moving so I can follow it and plant my winter plants in the correct spot. Times like this I really miss my scientist dad.

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michel7(8 AL)

Hi bub, I'm an avid follower of sun and moon tracks and will happily give you the info I have always used in placing plants. In our area, cent AL, the sun rises and sets a little south of due east-west. The earth tilts toward the sun part of the year and away the other part. This movement of the tilt is what makes the the sunrise appear to move from the northern part to the southern part of the eastern sky.

The most northern point of sunrise is the summer soltice, usually around June 22. It is at this time the sun is closest to a nearly overhead track (in our area,)is the longest day and the day the tilt starts moving the other direction. Today is the autumn equinox which is the half-way point of this north-south tilting.

Beginning June 22, the sun will appear to rise further south of east until the winter soltice about Dec 22, the shortest day of the year, when the movement starts back the other way. This is the time of year when the sun is lowest in the sky and is rising as far south of east as it gets.On the other side of the winter soltice, March 21-22 is the half-way point on the way back to June.

For planting, the most important positions to note is where the sun rises/sets on the June and Dec soltice, as your sun direction will always come from between these two points. From where I am, this movement of the sunrise appears to be confined to a quadrant of slightly less than 90 deg., but I have never put a compass on it, just observation. These generalizations should apply to all of AL and probably most of the south. I have no idea how far north in latitude you would have to be before you would notice a significant difference.

So now you know why the south side of your home is the hottest, the north side gets the least sun and why the precious shade that plants need in this climate keeps moving around!

I hope this helps with what you are trying to do. If you need actual compass points for your location, can't help you. That gets into celestial mapping. I've studied it and you definitely don't want to go there for your purposes.

Hey,I just had a thought that might help. Since today is the half-way point, get up at sunrise tomorrow and face your rising sun. Stretch out your arms making a 90 deg. angle with your body as the point and you will have a pretty good estimate of where your quardrant is.

Hope this helps you out and I haven't over explained this into something incomprehensible. The spouse says I drown everything in details. Good luck! Call back if you need me

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 2:21PM
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in broadly simple terms, the sun tracks from east to west on a more southerly course in winter in our area.
as michel wrote, the track migrates northward from its lowest (most southerly) course on dec. 22 until it reaches its highest (most northerly) track on june 22. then it starts to reverse.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 2:27PM
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topsiebeezelbub(z7 Al)

Thank you guys...that helps a lot. Made me dad used to explain things to bits...he must have found me a tad slow, but never let on! LOL

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 11:55PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

I loved the explanations, long and short, and have found that having potted plants on a southern-facing porch makes this an especially pertinent issue. Some of these lil' guys I've adopted and propagated this summer can't handle the sun shining on them and I've been rearranging almost daily for the past few weeks as the strong mid-day rays reach farther in/under the roof.

Large trees nearby add their own dimension to this issue, and whether or not they are deciduous.

But in general, hooray for all of the lovely warm sunshine in AL!!! I don't miss months of constantly dismal, cold, gray skies at ALL.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 12:01PM
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