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Term for the path of the subsolar point

  1. Feb 27, 2014 #1
    Imagine a straight line that contains both the center of the sun and the center of the earth. This line passes through a point on the surface of the earth that is between those two points. As the earth rotates, this point moves west, forming a kind of line on the surface of the earth.

    What is this line called? I was south of it once while visiting Aruba and thought it was so neat to see the sun apparently move from right to left across the sky instead of the other way. Thanks!
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 27, 2014 #2


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    The line is (approximately) a line of latitiude. The approximation is due to the earth's revolution around the sun. It varies over the year between the Tropic of Cancer (~ 23 deg. north, June 21) and the Tropic of Capricorn (~ 23 deg. south, Dec. 21).
  4. Feb 27, 2014 #3
    If I'm not mistaken the " thermal equator" may be what your looking for, could be wrong though

    edit just noticed this recent post I was off lol.

    Last edited: Feb 27, 2014
  5. Feb 27, 2014 #4
    That point on the surface of the Earth is called the "sub-solar point". I don't think the line it traces out has a name.
    You can see the Sun move right to left by just bending over backward and watching it that way (from the northern hemisphere). Not very convenient, however.
  6. Feb 27, 2014 #5
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