Where rises and where does the sun set? East or West?

Among the recurring questions that can be asked, the question of sunrise and sunset is sometimes difficult to remember. Do you want to simply remember which side the sun rises on and which side it sets? The answer and some tricks can be found in our article. Up to you to play!

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  • North, South, East, West… and the sun in all this?
    • Sunrise and sunset
  • Why does the Sun rise in the East?
  • Sunrise and sunset colors Sunrise
    • , sunset and atmosphere Observe the sun
  • at the solstice

North, South, East, West… And the sun in all this?

The Earth rotates around the sun and rotates on itself. How many times have we heard this phrase in our childhood? This one allows us often remember how cardinal sunrise and sunset are. That said, sometimes these tricks are not enough to hold on which side of the Earth the sun rises and sets.

Do you want to understand and know everything about sunrise and sunset? First of all, since the Earth rotates counterclockwise, the Sun can only rise to the East. The Earth continues to turn on itself (in about 24 hours) while turning around the Sun (in about 365 days), which causes the Sun to set at the cardinal point opposite the East, that is, the West.

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If we talk about the sun that rises and sets, it is above all because when you look at the horizon, the Sun seems to appear and rise from behind the horizon , and leave behind this same horizon to lie down and disappear. The very poetic way of telling how the sun rises and sets is to tell children, for example, that the sun is tired and that it also needs to sleep. Between poetry and exact science, only one line exists: that of the horizon…

We explain in more detail what you need to know about sunrise and sunset.

Sunrise and sunset

“ The sun rises to the East and sets in the West”: this sheath must of course be learned by heart, but still it must be found between East and West. We have for you a very effective mnemonic means so as not to get lost again. You will no longer need to look for the North and look long at the sky before you find the logic of the east and west.

In the same way as the Moon has his little tips on growth and decay, the Sun also has its practical mnemonic means in French.

In the word “lift”, we have the presence of the letter e, which will make you think of East. And in the word “bedtime”, we have the presence of the letter o , which will make you think of West, quite simply!

In summary :

Lever > letterE> East

Coucher > letterO> West

Why does the Sun rise in the East?

The Sun rises to the East because the earth turns on itself , always in the same direction. In reality, if the sun rises and sets, as they say, the reality is quite different. The sun does not sleep: it is indeed the Earth that turns on itself.

This revolution (a full tour of the Earth on itself) takes place in 23 hours, 56 minutes and 4 seconds . It’s about a day. This means that in one day, since the Earth rotates from West to East (counterclockwise), the Sun appears tirelessly, as rising to the East and setting to the West. This is true and verified, whether we are in the northern or southern hemisphere of the planet.

Did you know that if we wanted to make the explanation more precise, we would actually have to say that the Sun rises in the Northeast and sets southeast in winter? Indeed, the axis of rotation of the Earth on itself is slightly tilted. This also explains why at the geographical poles of the Earth there is a time of year during which the Sun does not set: it remains visible for a period that can go up to 6 months ! This duration or period is called polar day (not solar!).

The colors of sunrise and sunset

Where do the impressive colors (red, orange, pink, etc.) come from which so particularly define sunrise and sunset? The sky is adorned with shimmering colors that make the delight of young and great photographers. This is due to the fact that sunlight performs a path through the atmosphere. Throughout its journey, this sunlight meets molecules and can diffuse.

The more molecules the sunlight meets, the better it can diffuse. Low-wavelength colors then disappear giving way to colors that have a large wavelength , such as red, pink and orange.

Sunrise, sunset and

Did you know that the presence of pollution in the atmosphere significantly changes the perception and colors of sunrises and sunsets? If the air is saturated with molecules, then colors with a low wavelength tend to disappear faster atmosphere by being less visible. On Earth and on all sides of the planet, sunsets of unimaginable beauty can be observed.

Now you will know that the more intense a sunset is in color at a long wavelength, the more it means that the surrounding sky is saturated with molecules , which can partly be due to air pollution and human activity (factories, vehicle traffic, etc.).

The composition of the atmosphere is constantly changing; it is essentially made of nitrogen, oxygen, rare gases , dust, pollen, and other polluting molecules or particles. Through these successive layers, sunlight gives rise to sunrises and sunsets not to be missed…

Observing the sun at the solstice

To your cameras : don’t hesitate to go watch the sun rising or setting, especially at the winter or summer solstice! The solstice is a very special event. This is a date that can vary every year, around June 20 in summer. The day of the winter solstice is around December 20.

The summer solstice corresponds tothe “longest day“, that is, in reality, the day when sunlight lasts later in the day, before sunset. This is the moment when the sun passes on its “zenith”, which corresponds to the Tropic of the Cancer . The days then shorten to go towards winter.

The winter solstice corresponds to the “shortest day” of the year and the time when the sun is furthest from Ecuador . This means that the light period in the day is about 8 hours. The days then lengthen to go towards the summer. In the meantime, you have time to observe many sunrises and sunsets, all of which will have their peculiarity depending on the season and the weather.

Did you know that? The opposite of solstice corresponds to spring and autumn equinoxes . Days, seasons and months follow each other in the rhythm of the sun and LaTerre.