Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Arc of the Sun

June 7, 2015 - 8:00 am

We've been in our house for a year now.  I'm still trying to put plants in the proper place, lightwise. My main problem is that I severely underestimate the trajectory of the sun throughout the year.  The hosta bed that I planned in April and planted in May is getting too much sun.  I moved the hostas to another spot last week.  Now I see that the new spot, which I thought would be ok since it gets morning sun, gets sun from sunrise until noon and the hostas are scorching.  So today I will move them again, having paid better attention to the movement of the sun across my yard.  What a dummy.

So I started thinking, wouldn't it be nice if there were a way to get a clearer picture of how the sun actually does move across my property at different times of the year?  Ta da!  I found a site called

You enter your address (or click Detect My Location) and a map view comes up.  On the top right hand side you can choose between Map or Satellite.  I chose the Satellite view.  Here is my house at various times during the year.  The thin orange curve is the current sun trajectory, and the yellow shaded area around it is the variation of sun trajectories during the year.  The yellow line is sunrise and the dark orange line is sunset.

Jan 1

Apr 1

Jul 1

Oct 1
Can you see how I would have made a mistake in April for a bed on the west side of my back yard? Maybe not, because the way that the trees cast shadows is not evident in this simulation.  But I know my property, so I can supply that bit of information.  You'll be able to do that for your property, too!

I think this is fascinating!  The good news is that the sun is about as far to the north as it's going to get. (Compare the June 6 photo with the July 1 photo.)  From this point on, it'll be moving back to the south (the bottom of the shaded area in the photos.

A note:  I couldn't find a way to print or save directly from the site.  So I used the snipping tool (Google it for a version for your computer) to define the area I wanted to print, then saved the resulting .png to a folder on my computer.  That's why these photos are slightly different in size.

Try it out and let me know in the comments how it works for you!

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