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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.

The midnight sun

Build your own Sun Track Diorama What about the stars? The rising points of the stars don't change as much as the Sun's because they are so very far away. So the rising points of stars on the horizon were not as critical to ancient cultures. However, the rising times of stars change by 4 minutes each day, so any particular star would rise at different times during the year.

For about half the time, the star would rise during the daytime and thus be blocked by the huge light of our Sun.

Where is the sun at noon? | IMAGINARY

There was something called the "heliacal" or dawn rise of a star -- and this happened on only one day of the year. Thus these dawn rising were extremely useful for keeping track of exact days. For an explanation and examples of heliacal or dawn risings of stars, see Show Me a Heliacal Rising. Image credits: Medicine Wheel sunset photograph by Tom Melham. The Tom Melham picture appeared in the National Geographic. According to them, it is part of a collection "Mysteries of Mankind: Earth's Unexplained Landmarks" and the image is listed as usuable, with no permission or payment required.

The astronomer Immanuel Kant correctly guessed that this might be a cloud of stars held together by gravity, like the Solar System. It was only later on that astronomers realized that gas and dust was obscuring our view to distant parts of the galaxy, and that we were actually in the outer region of the Milky Way. The astronomer Harlow Shapley accurately determined where the Sun is in the MIlky Way in the early 20th century by noticing that globular clusters were uniformly located above and below the Milky Way, but they were concentrated in the sky towards the constellation Sagittarius.

Can we see the Sun at midnight?

Shapely realized that many globular clusters must be blocked by the galactic core. Intermediate How can spiral galaxies keep their shape? Advanced Does a black hole have a "surface"?

Intermediate How can you link telescopes to make a bigger "effective telescope"? Intermediate What should I know about the upcoming Solar Eclipse ?

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