The Variation in Sunrise and Sunset Times

Because of the Earth's tilt on its axis, the path of the Sun across the sky varies, and therefore, the rising and setting time changes. At different locations on Earth, the rising and setting times vary because the portion of the celestial sphere visible from different locations of Earth is different.

Compare the rising and setting times of the Sun in Ithaca and Chile:


At different locations on earth, the times of sunrise and sunset will be quite different on any given day.

Plotted here are the variations in the times of sunrise and sunset at six different locations. Can you figure out which is which?

  • Ithaca New York: latitude 42 North

  • Kiruna, Sweden: latitude 67 North

  • Mt. Palomar, California: latitude 33 North

  • Mauna Kea, Hawaii: latitude 19 North

  • Bosccha, Indonesia: latitude -6 South

  • Cerro Tololo, Chile: latitude -31 South

What do you notice about the sunrise and sunset times on the first day of spring and the first day of fall?

This link will take you to the Astronomical Almanac time keeping site of the US Naval Obseravatory where you can find the sunrise and sunset time for any place by date and longitude and latitude.