Sun paths are the arc-like trails the sun follows through the sky as the earth completes an orbit around it.
Sun paths are important to us because the earth’s axial tilt means that wherever the sun is directly overhead receives the greatest amount of insolation (the solar radiation reaching the earth’s surface). When it is summer in the northern hemisphere, the northern hemisphere is tilting towards the sun, and received more sunlight than the southern hemisphere.
So, sun paths are kept in mind when considering the heat gain of buildings before they are constructed, and when designing solar energy systems.
Mathematical models are used to predict solar paths, but they can also be depicted with solargraphy. In solargraphy, a fixed camera observes the path the sun takes, usually for 6 to 12 months. The resulting images are very beautiful, and can be viewed here.
One such sun path is the ‘Diamond Light Grid,” which was observed by the ancient inhabitants of Southern Africa, and has now been researched by Dean Liprini. These people created geometrically aligned observatories to map the pathways of the sun. These sacred sites were used in cultural rituals and ceremonies, and are indicative of early man’s involvement with the natural and spiritual world. You can learn more about the Diamond Light Grid here.