Analemma - A Figure '8' Shape

Updated: Jan 26

If you looked at the Sun from the same place, at the same time each day, would it appear at the same location in the sky? If the Earth were not tilted, and if its orbit were perfectly circular, then, yes, it would. However, the Earth were tilt at 23.5-degree and its orbit is slightly elliptical, because of which the Sun appears at different places everyday generating a figure '8' pattern. This pattern is called an analemma.

In astronomy, an analemma is a diagram showing the position of the Sun in the sky as seen from a fixed location on Earth at the same mean solar time, as that position varies over the course of a year. The diagram will resemble a figure eight. Globes of Earth often display an analemma.

The Sun will appear at its highest point in the sky, and highest point in the analemma, during summer. In the winter, the Sun is at its lowest point. The in-between times generate the rest of the analemma pattern. Analemmas viewed from different Earth latitudes have slightly different shapes.

Plot Your Own Analemma

  • Find a flat ground surface.

  • Plant a stick/rod in the ground.

  • At a regular interval (one week/month) plant another stick at the end of the shadow of the first stick.

  • At the end of a year you will see a figure '8' shape on the ground.

  • Here, you have your own Solar Analemma.

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