# Where Does the Sun Rise and Set?

 Most people know that the Sun "rises in the east and sets in the west". However, most people don't realize that is a generalization. Actually, the Sun only rises due east and sets due west on 2 days of the year -- the spring and fall equinoxes! On other days, the Sun rises either north or south of "due east" and sets north or south of "due west." Each day the rising and setting points change slightly. At the summer solstice, the Sun rises as far to the northeast as it ever does, and sets as far to the northwest. Every day after that, the Sun rises a tiny bit further south. At the fall equinox, the Sun rises due east and sets due west. It continues on it's journey southward until, at the winter solstice, the Sun rises are far to the south as it ever does, and sets as far to the southwest. Many, if not most, prehistoric cultures tracked these rising and settings points with great detail. If they had jagged mountains along the horizon, the exact points could be readily remembered. Without a suitably interesting horizon, standing stones could be arranged to line up with the various rising and setting points. Or, tree poles could replace the standing stones. Or, rock cairns could be used.

### How does this work?

 The dioramas simulate the rising and setting points of the Sun, and its tracks across the sky at summer solstice (longest track), winter solstice (shortest track), and the spring and fall equinoxes (medium track). A bead placed on one of the tracks simulates the Sun rising along the eastern horizon, travelong along the sky, and setting on the western horizon.

Imagine a tiny version of yourself standing in the middle of the wooden disk. And imagine that the outside rim of the disk represents your horizon. On Summer Solstice, you would see the Sun rise on your "horizon" at the eastern point of the longest track. It would follow the track high in your sky, and eventually set on the western horizon. It would be up for about 17 "hours", thus making summertime days long and warm. On the Winter Solstice, you would observe the Sun rising at the western end of the smallest track. It wouldn't rise high in the sky, and would be up for only about 6 or 7 hours, making your days short on daylight and cold. At the Spring and the Fall equinoxes, the Sun would rise at the east end of the middle track and set at the west end. Your days would be exactly half daylight and half nighttime and you would experience typical warm/cool spring and fall climates.