Astronomy Picture of the Day

The Analemma and the Temple of Olympian Zeus

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The Analemma and the Temple of Olympian Zeus


An analemma
is that figure-8 curve you get when
you mark
the position
of the Sun at the same time
each day throughout planet
Earth's year.

47 separate exposures
(plus one foreground exposure)
were recorded on a single piece of film to illustrate
this annual cycle of solar motion from March 30, 2003 to March 30, 2004.

In the remarkable foreground are standing Corinthian columns of the
Temple of Olympian Zeus
in Athens, Greece.

Solstices, like the one
that occurred at 0022 UT on December 22,
correspond to the bottom of the figure-8 or the
southernmost excursion of the Sun in the sky.

The tilt of planet Earth's axis and the variation in speed as
it moves around its orbit combine to produce the graceful
analemma curve.

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