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Where Does The Sun Rise?

Where Does The Sun Rise?

Is it due East?

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Answer

The answer depends on the time of year. On the first day of spring or fall, the sun rises almost due east. In our winter, when the South Pole is tilted toward the sun, the sun rises south of east. In our summer, when the North Pole is tilted toward the sun, the sun rises north of east. It's all a matter of geometry. (Of course this motion of the sun is only apparent: It's actually the Earth moving.)

Challenge question

(With thanks to Charlie Conley.)

My friend on Planet X reports that the sun stayed at the same spot on the horizon for an entire 24-hour day. How can this be?

Submit answers to the challenge and other questions, answers, and and comments to:

Math Chat,

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Bronfman Science Center,

Williams College,

Williamstown, MA 01267

or by e-mail to

Frank.Morgan@williams.edu.

The best submissions will receive a copy of the book Flatland, which helps understand spaces of different dimension.