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John Wheeler: The sun rises in the east only rarely

During summer, the sun actually rises in the northeast.

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FARGO — Although we think of the sun rising in the east and setting in the west each day, it only does this around the two equinoxes in March and September. During summer, at our latitude, the sun actually rises in the northeast, crosses due east on its way to a noon peak in the southern sky. During the afternoon, it continues its circular path, crossing due west in the late afternoon or evening, before setting north of west. This roundabout maneuver is how we get days longer than the nights during summer.

Now, with the Autumnal Equinox just a few days away, the sun is rising fairly close to due east and setting close to due west. The sun at solar noon is still in the southern sky, but not as high as it was in summer. By the time of the Winter Solstice, the sun will rise in the southeast and traverse a pitifully short portion of the southern sky before setting in the southwest.

Related Topics: WEATHER
John Wheeler is Chief Meteorologist for WDAY, a position he has had since May of 1985. Wheeler grew up in the South, in Louisiana and Alabama, and cites his family's move to the Midwest as important to developing his fascination with weather and climate. Wheeler lived in Wisconsin and Iowa as a teenager. He attended Iowa State University and achieved a B.S. degree in Meteorology in 1984. Wheeler worked about a year at WOI-TV in central Iowa before moving to Fargo and WDAY..
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