The Sun in the sky during the Summer in the Southern hemisphere

On the Summer Solstice, which occurs on December 21, the Sun is at its highest path through the sky and the day is the longest. Because the day is so long the Sun does not rise exactly in the east, but rises to the south of east and sets to the south of west allowing it to be in the sky for a longer period of time.

After the summer solstice the Sun follows a lower and lower path through the sky each day until it reaches the point where it is in the sky for exactly 12 hours again. This is the Fall Equinox. Just like the Spring Equinox, the Sun will rise exactly east and set exactly west on this day and everyone in the world will experience a 12 hour day.

After the Fall Equinox the Sun will continue to follow a lower and lower path through the sky and the days will grow shorter and shorter until it reaches its lowest path and then we are back at the Winter Solstice where we started.

In each of the diagrams displaying the path of the Sun for different times of the year you might have noticed an arrow pointing towards the South Celestial Pole. We need to understand why the location of the South Celestial Pole is important in building our sundials. Let's find out!

Sun Path sundials South Celestial Pole