Example Sun-Path Applet: The relationship between spherical and orthographic sun-path projection methods. This is an interactive applet so you can adjust the sun position by clicking and dragging it with the left mouse button or use the middle and right buttons to pan or rotate the view.


A core understanding of sun position and the solar cycle is fundamental to many aspects of good design. Used correctly, the Sun can be the main source of both passive heating and cooling in a building. The aim of this applet is mainly educational - a tool with which you can experiment and play to improve your own design understanding.

See the Earth-Sun Relationship and Sun Path Diagram Projection Methods topics for more detailed information on other aspects of solar position and projections.

Display Options

You can use the OPTIONS button menu (F4) to change the main display settings, as shown in Figure 1. This menu lets you toggle overlay panels that show solar information, the world map and simple instructions. You can also use it to change the size of the world map, overlay world time zones or select different views of the model.

Using the Display Options… menu item (F5), as shown in Figure 2, you can determine what components of the sun-path diagram are displayed and how they are shown. This allows you to tailor the image to suit your particular demonstration or application.

The only real way to understand the use of these applets is to experiment, so please feel free to simply play about with it.




Craig Hollabaugh 2 July, 2013 - 21:14


Did you publish the source for this mighty fine tool? Or do you have a standalone jar available?

Thanks, Craig

Dave 5 June, 2013 - 15:40

Thnx to this application so much!! I finally get a clear visual for my building presentation. I wish i can download this software so i can use it when im offline too. Pleassseee anyone can made this happen so i can turn it on whenever i need it. Thnx.

Professor Gerhard Prinsloo 23 July, 2012 - 11:56

Dear Andrew

The messages I sent to you previously keeps coming back with the msg : not delivered (hope this goes through).

We find your Sun Path Graphics on this page most helpful to explain the Sun Path Diagram to students:


I am lecturing at a university in Africa and we use a small Arduino processor based solar tracking model to demonstrate to the students how a Parabolic dish follows the sun. Students find this very instructive.

I was thinking, if I can somehow get an output from your algorithm on the Azimuth and Elevation position of the sun (while moving the sliders) that we can send to the Arduino processor, it will have a very helpful model to demonstrate the motion and understand the Sun Path Diagram even better.

For example if the parameters can be written as a string to the USB port then we can read this into Arduino and demonstrate the parabolic dish movement with the Sun Path Diagram.

Do let me know if you are willing to assist us in accomplishing this to help our students.

best regards Professor Gerhard Prinsloo prinsloo@dut.ac.za

Durban University of Technology

Dr. Andrew Marsh 23 July, 2012 - 19:15

Hi Professor Prinsloo,

I would be more than happy to help in any way I can with your project. I will contact you directly by email to follow up…


renato 26 September, 2010 - 19:04

Congratulations Andrew.

Outstanding job. I rarely see such an incredible development. Absulutely everything necessary to this subject. Pervect.

KimBob 3 September, 2011 - 19:50

Andrew, Excellent piece of software. This is so intuitive and easy to use. Thanks for sharing!

For those who wanted to know how to find the position of their city, go to http://itouchmap.com/latlong.html and enter your address. The map will show you latitude and longitude which you can then position Andrew’s map to those coordinates.

David Carlson 15 April, 2011 - 19:17

How do I get the sun angles for my home at 15950 Portico Drive Wayzata MN 55391?

J N Karamchetti 26 March, 2011 - 06:23

It is really amazing. I used it for 3 hours with different latitudes and longitudes - and interactive and give excellent pictorial view or understanding for the viewer.

Thanks to you keep such thing in public domain.

Diane 28 February, 2011 - 10:18

Amazing… I’ve actually understood what azimuth is now… So well represented.

John 31 October, 2010 - 18:10



This is amazing. I am trying to use the applet to create a sun diagram for location in Brooklyn, NY:

92 Plymouth Street, Brooklyn, NY Zip 11201.

Is there a way for me to do this? Can you tell me how?

Alex K 24 January, 2012 - 01:10


There are many programs available online that will allow you to select a point on a map and will tell you the latitude/longitude of that point. Once you find the lat/long of the address, use the lat/long sliders on the sides of Andrew’s application to get as close as possible to the point.

Here is an example: http://itouchmap.com/latlong.html

Gianluca Brilli 11 October, 2010 - 16:28

Very beautiful and interesting.

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