Navigating using the path of the sun
Posted on June 25, 2013
Having a basic understanding of the position of the sun in relation to the earth and how this changes throughout the year means that you will always have a navigation tool to hand (assuming you can see the sun!).
As a general rule the sun rises in the east and sets in the west (in both the northern and southern hemispheres). It will be highest in the sky during the middle of the day. However, this is only a very rough guide as the sun will rise and set at different locations depending on how close you are to the equator and the time of year:
– In general, the sun rises and sets closest to east-west around the time of the equinoxes (March and September).
– In mid-summer it rises more to the north-east and sets north-west in the northern hemisphere (it rises to the south-east and sets in the south-west in the southern hemisphere).
– In winter it rises in the south east and sets in the south west in the northern hemisphere (north east and north west on the southern hemisphere).
– The further away from the equator you are, the further the path will be from true east – west.
To help with your solar navigation you can use our Sun Position app to see the sun path for any date of the year. Or if you’re feeling lazy our compass apps Survey Compass and Accurate Compass will tell you the bearing straight out.