Is it true that the sun goes down to the west?

  • I know the sun doesn't go down but we are moving and is it true that the sun goes down to the west? I've read on many webpages that this is not entirely true.

    "I've read on many webpages that this is not entirely true" - can you give a link to illustrate what you mean? Are you asking if the Earth rotates on its axis, or something else?

    That is talking about the exact east and west points on the horizon. If you imagine the horizon as a circle from 0 to 360 degrees, with 0 due north, 90 east, and 270 west, then the sun rises between 67 and 113 degrees at different points of the year, if you are on the equator.

    "Actually, the Sun only rises due east and sets due west on 2 days of the year -- the spring and fall equinoxes! On other days, the Sun rises either north or south of "due east" and sets north or south of "due west."" Although this is true, when we talk about the sun setting in the West, we mean West of the meridian (i.e. not East) not due West at the cardinal point.

    Round here the sun rises in the NE in the summer, and sets in the NW. In winter it makes its way all the was from ese to wnw before giving up.

    At the poles the sun just circles round the horizon during summer, and setting is a long process that takes a chunk of Autumn and has no specific direction :-)

  • Earth rotates. That gives us the feeling of Sunrise and Sunset. Actually there are no such things. See Below animated image. Earth completes one rotation in a day (24hrs). (Actually 1 rotation of earth is called a "Day").

    This image also depicts the cause of Solstice and Equinox, earth's tilted axis.

    enter image description here

    Minor nit: the Earth completes on rotation or sidereal day (360°) in a bit under 24 hrs. Because the Earth is also moving it its orbit about the sun and has moved about 1 degree of arc during the course of a day, Earth has to rotate about 361° to complete a solar day, which is the day we measure on our calendars.

  • I live in an 'L' shaped building on the 14th floor, so I have a pretty clear view of the horizon. Up until March 20th of this year, the sun was setting behind the other wing of the building. My living room window faces roughly NW, and on March 21st, I was able to see the sun at the horizon for the first time this year. Each day, the sun will set a little further northwest until it's setting almost directly opposite my window. Then it will begin to retreat until one day in September, when it will begin to set behind the other wing of the building again.

    This is the first year I took note of the day that sunset was first visible, and I'm planning to note which day is the last day I can see the sun set.

    Today's the 5th of June. On the 21st or 22nd, the sun will set the furthest to the north it will get. After that, it will begin the 3 month series of sunsets that will take it behind the other wing of the building. Right now, it's setting around 8:30 (EDST). I try to watch the sunset each day. Somehow it's dramatic, almost as if the next sunrise is in question. Some sunsets are plain, but sometimes the last rays of the sun light up the clouds in awesome glory.

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM

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