1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Calculate what distance the sunset moves

  1. May 12, 2009 #1
    The reason I'm asking this is because I am planting a shade tree and I want the location to be correct for both early spring and late summer.

    I am in Maryland (East Coast USA). The sun sets to the west.

    If I compare the location of the sunset in April to the sunset in September am I correct in the sunset in April being more to the left and the sunset in September being more to the right?

    Does anyone have any way to calculate what distance the sunset moves during the seasons? I want to plant my tree now but I also want the tree top to be useful in blocking the sun in late summer too.

    Thoughts? Comments?

  2. jcsd
  3. May 12, 2009 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Hi John! :smile:

    Sunset about March 21st and September 21st should both be due West.

    From there to mid-June, sunset gets further north (ie to the right). :wink:
  4. May 12, 2009 #3
    Re: Sunsets

    thanks! I managed to figure out that it moves north but I'm glad you added the mid-june thing on top of the equinoxes. Now it makes sense!

  5. May 12, 2009 #4


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Re: Sunsets

    I can help you out with a planetarium program (Starry Night):

    Using DC as the location...
    The sun sets at an azmuth of 300 degrees on June 21.
    The sun sets at an azmuth of 239 degrees on December 21.

    When you check your sight lines, make sure you are referencing true north, not magnetic: The variation for you is -11 degrees (true north is to the right of magnetic).
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook