Position of the sun given time of day, latitude and longitude

sun position calculator
sun overhead calculator
apparent solar time calculator
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how to calculate azimuth and altitude
sun declination calculator
solar zenith angle

This question has been asked before a little over three years ago. There was an answer given, however I've found a glitch in the solution.

Code below is in R. I've ported it to another language, however have tested the original code directly in R to ensure the issue wasn't with my porting.

sunPosition <- function(year, month, day, hour=12, min=0, sec=0,
                    lat=46.5, long=6.5) {


  twopi <- 2 * pi
  deg2rad <- pi / 180

  # Get day of the year, e.g. Feb 1 = 32, Mar 1 = 61 on leap years
  month.days <- c(0,31,28,31,30,31,30,31,31,30,31,30)
  day <- day + cumsum(month.days)[month]
  leapdays <- year %% 4 == 0 & (year %% 400 == 0 | year %% 100 != 0) & day >= 60
  day[leapdays] <- day[leapdays] + 1

  # Get Julian date - 2400000
  hour <- hour + min / 60 + sec / 3600 # hour plus fraction
  delta <- year - 1949
  leap <- trunc(delta / 4) # former leapyears
  jd <- 32916.5 + delta * 365 + leap + day + hour / 24

  # The input to the Atronomer's almanach is the difference between
  # the Julian date and JD 2451545.0 (noon, 1 January 2000)
  time <- jd - 51545.

  # Ecliptic coordinates

  # Mean longitude
  mnlong <- 280.460 + .9856474 * time
  mnlong <- mnlong %% 360
  mnlong[mnlong < 0] <- mnlong[mnlong < 0] + 360

  # Mean anomaly
  mnanom <- 357.528 + .9856003 * time
  mnanom <- mnanom %% 360
  mnanom[mnanom < 0] <- mnanom[mnanom < 0] + 360
  mnanom <- mnanom * deg2rad

  # Ecliptic longitude and obliquity of ecliptic
  eclong <- mnlong + 1.915 * sin(mnanom) + 0.020 * sin(2 * mnanom)
  eclong <- eclong %% 360
  eclong[eclong < 0] <- eclong[eclong < 0] + 360
  oblqec <- 23.429 - 0.0000004 * time
  eclong <- eclong * deg2rad
  oblqec <- oblqec * deg2rad

  # Celestial coordinates
  # Right ascension and declination
  num <- cos(oblqec) * sin(eclong)
  den <- cos(eclong)
  ra <- atan(num / den)
  ra[den < 0] <- ra[den < 0] + pi
  ra[den >= 0 & num < 0] <- ra[den >= 0 & num < 0] + twopi
  dec <- asin(sin(oblqec) * sin(eclong))

  # Local coordinates
  # Greenwich mean sidereal time
  gmst <- 6.697375 + .0657098242 * time + hour
  gmst <- gmst %% 24
  gmst[gmst < 0] <- gmst[gmst < 0] + 24.

  # Local mean sidereal time
  lmst <- gmst + long / 15.
  lmst <- lmst %% 24.
  lmst[lmst < 0] <- lmst[lmst < 0] + 24.
  lmst <- lmst * 15. * deg2rad

  # Hour angle
  ha <- lmst - ra
  ha[ha < -pi] <- ha[ha < -pi] + twopi
  ha[ha > pi] <- ha[ha > pi] - twopi

  # Latitude to radians
  lat <- lat * deg2rad

  # Azimuth and elevation
  el <- asin(sin(dec) * sin(lat) + cos(dec) * cos(lat) * cos(ha))
  az <- asin(-cos(dec) * sin(ha) / cos(el))
  elc <- asin(sin(dec) / sin(lat))
  az[el >= elc] <- pi - az[el >= elc]
  az[el <= elc & ha > 0] <- az[el <= elc & ha > 0] + twopi

  el <- el / deg2rad
  az <- az / deg2rad
  lat <- lat / deg2rad

  return(list(elevation=el, azimuth=az))
}

The problem I'm hitting is that the azimuth it returns seems wrong. For example, if I run the function on the (southern) summer solstice at 12:00 for locations 0ºE and 41ºS, 3ºS, 3ºN and 41ºN:

> sunPosition(2012,12,22,12,0,0,-41,0)
$elevation
[1] 72.42113

$azimuth
[1] 180.9211

> sunPosition(2012,12,22,12,0,0,-3,0)
$elevation
[1] 69.57493

$azimuth
[1] -0.79713

Warning message:
In asin(sin(dec)/sin(lat)) : NaNs produced
> sunPosition(2012,12,22,12,0,0,3,0)
$elevation
[1] 63.57538

$azimuth
[1] -0.6250971

Warning message:
In asin(sin(dec)/sin(lat)) : NaNs produced
> sunPosition(2012,12,22,12,0,0,41,0)
$elevation
[1] 25.57642

$azimuth
[1] 180.3084

These numbers just don't seem right. The elevation I'm happy with - the first two should be roughly the same, the third a touch lower, and the fourth much lower. However the first azimuth should be roughly due North, whereas the number it gives is the complete opposite. The remaining three should point roughly due South, however only the last one does. The two in the middle point just off North, again 180º out.

As you can see there are also a couple of errors triggered with the low latitudes (close the equator)

I believe the fault is in this section, with the error being triggered at the third line (starting with elc).

  # Azimuth and elevation
  el <- asin(sin(dec) * sin(lat) + cos(dec) * cos(lat) * cos(ha))
  az <- asin(-cos(dec) * sin(ha) / cos(el))
  elc <- asin(sin(dec) / sin(lat))
  az[el >= elc] <- pi - az[el >= elc]
  az[el <= elc & ha > 0] <- az[el <= elc & ha > 0] + twopi

I googled around and found a similar chunk of code in C, converted to R the line it uses to calculate the azimuth would be something like

az <- atan(sin(ha) / (cos(ha) * sin(lat) - tan(dec) * cos(lat)))

The output here seems to be heading in the right direction, but I just can't get it to give me the right answer all the time when it's converted back to degrees.

A correction of the code (suspect it's just the few lines above) to make it calculate the correct azimuth would be fantastic.

This seems like an important topic, so I've posted a longer than typical answer: if this algorithm is to be used by others in the future, I think it's important that it be accompanied by references to the literature from which it has been derived.

The short answer

As you've noted, your posted code does not work properly for locations near the equator, or in the southern hemisphere.

To fix it, simply replace these lines in your original code:

elc <- asin(sin(dec) / sin(lat))
az[el >= elc] <- pi - az[el >= elc]
az[el <= elc & ha > 0] <- az[el <= elc & ha > 0] + twopi

with these:

cosAzPos <- (0 <= sin(dec) - sin(el) * sin(lat))
sinAzNeg <- (sin(az) < 0)
az[cosAzPos & sinAzNeg] <- az[cosAzPos & sinAzNeg] + twopi
az[!cosAzPos] <- pi - az[!cosAzPos]

It should now work for any location on the globe.

Discussion

The code in your example is adapted almost verbatim from a 1988 article by J.J. Michalsky (Solar Energy. 40:227-235). That article in turn refined an algorithm presented in a 1978 article by R. Walraven (Solar Energy. 20:393-397). Walraven reported that the method had been used successfully for several years to precisely position a polarizing radiometer in Davis, CA (38° 33' 14" N, 121° 44' 17" W).

Both Michalsky's and Walraven's code contains important/fatal errors. In particular, while Michalsky's algorithm works just fine in most of the United States, it fails (as you've found) for areas near the equator, or in the southern hemisphere. In 1989, J.W. Spencer of Victoria, Australia, noted the same thing (Solar Energy. 42(4):353):

Dear Sir:

Michalsky's method for assigning the calculated azimuth to the correct quadrant, derived from Walraven, does not give correct values when applied for Southern (negative) latitudes. Further the calculation of the critical elevation (elc) will fail for a latitude of zero because of division by zero. Both these objections can be avoided simply by assigning the azimuth to the correct quadrant by considering the sign of cos(azimuth).

My edits to your code are based on the corrections suggested by Spencer in that published Comment. I have simply altered them somewhat to ensure that the R function sunPosition() remains 'vectorized' (i.e. working properly on vectors of point locations, rather than needing to be passed one point at a time).

Accuracy of the function sunPosition()

To test that sunPosition() works correctly, I've compared its results with those calculated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Solar Calculator. In both cases, sun positions were calculated for midday (12:00 PM) on the southern summer solstice (December 22nd), 2012. All results were in agreement to within 0.02 degrees.

testPts <- data.frame(lat = c(-41,-3,3, 41), 
                      long = c(0, 0, 0, 0))

# Sun's position as returned by the NOAA Solar Calculator,
NOAA <- data.frame(elevNOAA = c(72.44, 69.57, 63.57, 25.6),
                   azNOAA = c(359.09, 180.79, 180.62, 180.3))

# Sun's position as returned by sunPosition()
sunPos <- sunPosition(year = 2012,
                      month = 12,
                      day = 22,
                      hour = 12,
                      min = 0,
                      sec = 0,
                      lat = testPts$lat,
                      long = testPts$long)

cbind(testPts, NOAA, sunPos)
#   lat long elevNOAA azNOAA elevation  azimuth
# 1 -41    0    72.44 359.09  72.43112 359.0787
# 2  -3    0    69.57 180.79  69.56493 180.7965
# 3   3    0    63.57 180.62  63.56539 180.6247
# 4  41    0    25.60 180.30  25.56642 180.3083
Other errors in the code

There are at least two other (quite minor) errors in the posted code. The first causes February 29th and March 1st of leap years to both be tallied as day 61 of the year. The second error derives from a typo in the original article, which was corrected by Michalsky in a 1989 note (Solar Energy. 43(5):323).

This code block shows the offending lines, commented out and followed immediately by corrected versions:

# leapdays <- year %% 4 == 0 & (year %% 400 == 0 | year %% 100 != 0) & day >= 60
  leapdays <- year %% 4 == 0 & (year %% 400 == 0 | year %% 100 != 0) & 
              day >= 60 & !(month==2 & day==60)

# oblqec <- 23.429 - 0.0000004 * time
  oblqec <- 23.439 - 0.0000004 * time
Corrected version of sunPosition()

Here is the corrected code that was verified above:

sunPosition <- function(year, month, day, hour=12, min=0, sec=0,
                    lat=46.5, long=6.5) {

    twopi <- 2 * pi
    deg2rad <- pi / 180

    # Get day of the year, e.g. Feb 1 = 32, Mar 1 = 61 on leap years
    month.days <- c(0,31,28,31,30,31,30,31,31,30,31,30)
    day <- day + cumsum(month.days)[month]
    leapdays <- year %% 4 == 0 & (year %% 400 == 0 | year %% 100 != 0) & 
                day >= 60 & !(month==2 & day==60)
    day[leapdays] <- day[leapdays] + 1

    # Get Julian date - 2400000
    hour <- hour + min / 60 + sec / 3600 # hour plus fraction
    delta <- year - 1949
    leap <- trunc(delta / 4) # former leapyears
    jd <- 32916.5 + delta * 365 + leap + day + hour / 24

    # The input to the Atronomer's almanach is the difference between
    # the Julian date and JD 2451545.0 (noon, 1 January 2000)
    time <- jd - 51545.

    # Ecliptic coordinates

    # Mean longitude
    mnlong <- 280.460 + .9856474 * time
    mnlong <- mnlong %% 360
    mnlong[mnlong < 0] <- mnlong[mnlong < 0] + 360

    # Mean anomaly
    mnanom <- 357.528 + .9856003 * time
    mnanom <- mnanom %% 360
    mnanom[mnanom < 0] <- mnanom[mnanom < 0] + 360
    mnanom <- mnanom * deg2rad

    # Ecliptic longitude and obliquity of ecliptic
    eclong <- mnlong + 1.915 * sin(mnanom) + 0.020 * sin(2 * mnanom)
    eclong <- eclong %% 360
    eclong[eclong < 0] <- eclong[eclong < 0] + 360
    oblqec <- 23.439 - 0.0000004 * time
    eclong <- eclong * deg2rad
    oblqec <- oblqec * deg2rad

    # Celestial coordinates
    # Right ascension and declination
    num <- cos(oblqec) * sin(eclong)
    den <- cos(eclong)
    ra <- atan(num / den)
    ra[den < 0] <- ra[den < 0] + pi
    ra[den >= 0 & num < 0] <- ra[den >= 0 & num < 0] + twopi
    dec <- asin(sin(oblqec) * sin(eclong))

    # Local coordinates
    # Greenwich mean sidereal time
    gmst <- 6.697375 + .0657098242 * time + hour
    gmst <- gmst %% 24
    gmst[gmst < 0] <- gmst[gmst < 0] + 24.

    # Local mean sidereal time
    lmst <- gmst + long / 15.
    lmst <- lmst %% 24.
    lmst[lmst < 0] <- lmst[lmst < 0] + 24.
    lmst <- lmst * 15. * deg2rad

    # Hour angle
    ha <- lmst - ra
    ha[ha < -pi] <- ha[ha < -pi] + twopi
    ha[ha > pi] <- ha[ha > pi] - twopi

    # Latitude to radians
    lat <- lat * deg2rad

    # Azimuth and elevation
    el <- asin(sin(dec) * sin(lat) + cos(dec) * cos(lat) * cos(ha))
    az <- asin(-cos(dec) * sin(ha) / cos(el))

    # For logic and names, see Spencer, J.W. 1989. Solar Energy. 42(4):353
    cosAzPos <- (0 <= sin(dec) - sin(el) * sin(lat))
    sinAzNeg <- (sin(az) < 0)
    az[cosAzPos & sinAzNeg] <- az[cosAzPos & sinAzNeg] + twopi
    az[!cosAzPos] <- pi - az[!cosAzPos]

    # if (0 < sin(dec) - sin(el) * sin(lat)) {
    #     if(sin(az) < 0) az <- az + twopi
    # } else {
    #     az <- pi - az
    # }


    el <- el / deg2rad
    az <- az / deg2rad
    lat <- lat / deg2rad

    return(list(elevation=el, azimuth=az))
}
References:

Michalsky, J.J. 1988. The Astronomical Almanac's algorithm for approximate solar position (1950-2050). Solar Energy. 40(3):227-235.

Michalsky, J.J. 1989. Errata. Solar Energy. 43(5):323.

Spencer, J.W. 1989. Comments on "The Astronomical Almanac's Algorithm for Approximate Solar Position (1950-2050)". Solar Energy. 42(4):353.

Walraven, R. 1978. Calculating the position of the sun. Solar Energy. 20:393-397.

Position of the sun given time of day, latitude and longitude, This seems like an important topic, so I've posted a longer than typical answer: if this algorithm is to be used by others in the future, I think it's important that it be� The time when the Sun transits the observer's meridian depends on the geographic longitude. To find the Sun's position for a given location at a given time, one may therefore proceed in three steps as follows: calculate the Sun's position in the ecliptic coordinate system, convert to the equatorial coordinate system, and

Using "NOAA Solar Calculations" from one of the links above I have changed a bit the final part of the function by using a slighly different algorithm that, I hope, have translated without errors. I have commented out the now-useless code and added the new algorithm just after the latitude to radians conversion:

# -----------------------------------------------
# New code
# Solar zenith angle
zenithAngle <- acos(sin(lat) * sin(dec) + cos(lat) * cos(dec) * cos(ha))
# Solar azimuth
az <- acos(((sin(lat) * cos(zenithAngle)) - sin(dec)) / (cos(lat) * sin(zenithAngle)))
rm(zenithAngle)
# -----------------------------------------------

# Azimuth and elevation
el <- asin(sin(dec) * sin(lat) + cos(dec) * cos(lat) * cos(ha))
#az <- asin(-cos(dec) * sin(ha) / cos(el))
#elc <- asin(sin(dec) / sin(lat))
#az[el >= elc] <- pi - az[el >= elc]
#az[el <= elc & ha > 0] <- az[el <= elc & ha > 0] + twopi

el <- el / deg2rad
az <- az / deg2rad
lat <- lat / deg2rad

# -----------------------------------------------
# New code
if (ha > 0) az <- az + 180 else az <- 540 - az
az <- az %% 360
# -----------------------------------------------

return(list(elevation=el, azimuth=az))

To verify azimuth trend in the four cases you mentioned let's plot it against time of day:

hour <- seq(from = 0, to = 23, by = 0.5)
azimuth <- data.frame(hour = hour)
az41S <- apply(azimuth, 1, function(x) sunPosition(2012,12,22,x,0,0,-41,0)$azimuth)
az03S <- apply(azimuth, 1, function(x) sunPosition(2012,12,22,x,0,0,-03,0)$azimuth)
az03N <- apply(azimuth, 1, function(x) sunPosition(2012,12,22,x,0,0,03,0)$azimuth)
az41N <- apply(azimuth, 1, function(x) sunPosition(2012,12,22,x,0,0,41,0)$azimuth)
azimuth <- cbind(azimuth, az41S, az03S, az41N, az03N)
rm(az41S, az03S, az41N, az03N)
library(ggplot2)
azimuth.plot <- melt(data = azimuth, id.vars = "hour")
ggplot(aes(x = hour, y = value, color = variable), data = azimuth.plot) + 
    geom_line(size = 2) + 
    geom_vline(xintercept = 12) + 
    facet_wrap(~ variable)

Image attached:

Position of the Sun, The position of the Sun in the sky is a function of both the time and the geographic location of To find the Sun's position for a given location at a given time, one may therefore proceed in The mean longitude of the Sun, corrected for the aberration of light, is: as the ecliptic latitude of the Sun never exceeds 0.00033�,. SunCalc shows the movement of the sun and sunlight-phase for a certain day at a certain place.. You can change the suns positions for sunrise, selected time and sunset see. The thin yellow-colored curve shows the trajectory of the sun, the yellow deposit shows the variation of the path of the sun throughout the year.

Here's a rewrite in that's more idiomatic to R, and easier to debug and maintain. It is essentially Josh's answer, but with azimuth calculated using both Josh and Charlie's algorithms for comparison. I've also included the simplifications to the date code from my other answer. The basic principle was to split the code up into lots of smaller functions that you can more easily write unit tests for.

astronomersAlmanacTime <- function(x)
{
  # Astronomer's almanach time is the number of 
  # days since (noon, 1 January 2000)
  origin <- as.POSIXct("2000-01-01 12:00:00")
  as.numeric(difftime(x, origin, units = "days"))
}

hourOfDay <- function(x)
{
  x <- as.POSIXlt(x)
  with(x, hour + min / 60 + sec / 3600)
}

degreesToRadians <- function(degrees)
{
  degrees * pi / 180
}

radiansToDegrees <- function(radians)
{
  radians * 180 / pi
}

meanLongitudeDegrees <- function(time)
{
  (280.460 + 0.9856474 * time) %% 360
}

meanAnomalyRadians <- function(time)
{
  degreesToRadians((357.528 + 0.9856003 * time) %% 360)
}

eclipticLongitudeRadians <- function(mnlong, mnanom)
{
  degreesToRadians(
      (mnlong + 1.915 * sin(mnanom) + 0.020 * sin(2 * mnanom)) %% 360
  )
}

eclipticObliquityRadians <- function(time)
{
  degreesToRadians(23.439 - 0.0000004 * time)
}

rightAscensionRadians <- function(oblqec, eclong)
{
  num <- cos(oblqec) * sin(eclong)
  den <- cos(eclong)
  ra <- atan(num / den)
  ra[den < 0] <- ra[den < 0] + pi
  ra[den >= 0 & num < 0] <- ra[den >= 0 & num < 0] + 2 * pi 
  ra
}

rightDeclinationRadians <- function(oblqec, eclong)
{
  asin(sin(oblqec) * sin(eclong))
}

greenwichMeanSiderealTimeHours <- function(time, hour)
{
  (6.697375 + 0.0657098242 * time + hour) %% 24
}

localMeanSiderealTimeRadians <- function(gmst, long)
{
  degreesToRadians(15 * ((gmst + long / 15) %% 24))
}

hourAngleRadians <- function(lmst, ra)
{
  ((lmst - ra + pi) %% (2 * pi)) - pi
}

elevationRadians <- function(lat, dec, ha)
{
  asin(sin(dec) * sin(lat) + cos(dec) * cos(lat) * cos(ha))
}

solarAzimuthRadiansJosh <- function(lat, dec, ha, el)
{
  az <- asin(-cos(dec) * sin(ha) / cos(el))
  cosAzPos <- (0 <= sin(dec) - sin(el) * sin(lat))
  sinAzNeg <- (sin(az) < 0)
  az[cosAzPos & sinAzNeg] <- az[cosAzPos & sinAzNeg] + 2 * pi
  az[!cosAzPos] <- pi - az[!cosAzPos]
  az
}

solarAzimuthRadiansCharlie <- function(lat, dec, ha)
{
  zenithAngle <- acos(sin(lat) * sin(dec) + cos(lat) * cos(dec) * cos(ha))
  az <- acos((sin(lat) * cos(zenithAngle) - sin(dec)) / (cos(lat) * sin(zenithAngle)))
  ifelse(ha > 0, az + pi, 3 * pi - az) %% (2 * pi)
}

sunPosition <- function(when = Sys.time(), format, lat = 46.5, long = 6.5) 
{    
  if(is.character(when)) when <- strptime(when, format)
  when <- lubridate::with_tz(when, "UTC")
  time <- astronomersAlmanacTime(when)
  hour <- hourOfDay(when)

  # Ecliptic coordinates  
  mnlong <- meanLongitudeDegrees(time)   
  mnanom <- meanAnomalyRadians(time)  
  eclong <- eclipticLongitudeRadians(mnlong, mnanom)     
  oblqec <- eclipticObliquityRadians(time)

  # Celestial coordinates
  ra <- rightAscensionRadians(oblqec, eclong)
  dec <- rightDeclinationRadians(oblqec, eclong)

  # Local coordinates
  gmst <- greenwichMeanSiderealTimeHours(time, hour)  
  lmst <- localMeanSiderealTimeRadians(gmst, long)

  # Hour angle
  ha <- hourAngleRadians(lmst, ra)

  # Latitude to radians
  lat <- degreesToRadians(lat)

  # Azimuth and elevation
  el <- elevationRadians(lat, dec, ha)
  azJ <- solarAzimuthRadiansJosh(lat, dec, ha, el)
  azC <- solarAzimuthRadiansCharlie(lat, dec, ha)

  data.frame(
      elevation = radiansToDegrees(el), 
      azimuthJ  = radiansToDegrees(azJ),
      azimuthC  = radiansToDegrees(azC)
  )
}

Calculation of sun's position in the sky for each location on the earth , sun position, Elevation, Azimuth, latitude, longitude The length of the shadow map is normalized (changing with the zoom), and the direction is Noon in solar time occurs when the sun is at its highest point in the sky for the day, and it is� Calculation of sun’s position in the sky for each location on the earth at any time of day. Azimuth, sunrise sunset noon, daylight and graphs of the solar path. Sunrise and sunset are defined as the instant when the upper limb of the Sun’s disk is just touching the horizon, this corresponds to an altitude of -0.833° degrees for the Sun.

This is a suggested update to Josh's excellent answer.

Much of the start of the function is boilerplate code for calculating the number of days since midday on 1st Jan 2000. This is much better dealt with using R's existing date and time function.

I also think that rather than having six different variables to specify the date and time, it's easier (and more consistent with other R functions) to specify an existing date object or a date strings + format strings.

Here are two helper functions

astronomers_almanac_time <- function(x)
{
  origin <- as.POSIXct("2000-01-01 12:00:00")
  as.numeric(difftime(x, origin, units = "days"))
}

hour_of_day <- function(x)
{
  x <- as.POSIXlt(x)
  with(x, hour + min / 60 + sec / 3600)
}

And the start of the function now simplifies to

sunPosition <- function(when = Sys.time(), format, lat=46.5, long=6.5) {

  twopi <- 2 * pi
  deg2rad <- pi / 180

  if(is.character(when)) when <- strptime(when, format)
  time <- astronomers_almanac_time(when)
  hour <- hour_of_day(when)
  #...

The other oddity is in the lines like

mnlong[mnlong < 0] <- mnlong[mnlong < 0] + 360

Since mnlong has had %% called on its values, they should all be non-negative already, so this line is superfluous.

How can we compute solar position at a given place on a given day , How can we compute solar position at a given place on a given day and time? I have GPS obtained UTC time (hours, minutes, seconds), longitude(deg E), latitude� If you select a city from the pulldown menu, the latitude, longitude and time zone fields will be filled in by the program. If you want to input latitude, longitude or time zone manually, be sure to select "Enter Lat/Long -->" from the City pulldown box, or your numbers will be overwritten by the selected city's location.

I needed sun position in a Python project. I adapted Josh O'Brien's algorithm.

Thank you Josh.

In case it could be useful to anyone, here's my adaptation.

Note that my project only needed instant sun position so time is not a parameter.

def sunPosition(lat=46.5, long=6.5):

    # Latitude [rad]
    lat_rad = math.radians(lat)

    # Get Julian date - 2400000
    day = time.gmtime().tm_yday
    hour = time.gmtime().tm_hour + \
           time.gmtime().tm_min/60.0 + \
           time.gmtime().tm_sec/3600.0
    delta = time.gmtime().tm_year - 1949
    leap = delta / 4
    jd = 32916.5 + delta * 365 + leap + day + hour / 24

    # The input to the Atronomer's almanach is the difference between
    # the Julian date and JD 2451545.0 (noon, 1 January 2000)
    t = jd - 51545

    # Ecliptic coordinates

    # Mean longitude
    mnlong_deg = (280.460 + .9856474 * t) % 360

    # Mean anomaly
    mnanom_rad = math.radians((357.528 + .9856003 * t) % 360)

    # Ecliptic longitude and obliquity of ecliptic
    eclong = math.radians((mnlong_deg + 
                           1.915 * math.sin(mnanom_rad) + 
                           0.020 * math.sin(2 * mnanom_rad)
                          ) % 360)
    oblqec_rad = math.radians(23.439 - 0.0000004 * t)

    # Celestial coordinates
    # Right ascension and declination
    num = math.cos(oblqec_rad) * math.sin(eclong)
    den = math.cos(eclong)
    ra_rad = math.atan(num / den)
    if den < 0:
        ra_rad = ra_rad + math.pi
    elif num < 0:
        ra_rad = ra_rad + 2 * math.pi
    dec_rad = math.asin(math.sin(oblqec_rad) * math.sin(eclong))

    # Local coordinates
    # Greenwich mean sidereal time
    gmst = (6.697375 + .0657098242 * t + hour) % 24
    # Local mean sidereal time
    lmst = (gmst + long / 15) % 24
    lmst_rad = math.radians(15 * lmst)

    # Hour angle (rad)
    ha_rad = (lmst_rad - ra_rad) % (2 * math.pi)

    # Elevation
    el_rad = math.asin(
        math.sin(dec_rad) * math.sin(lat_rad) + \
        math.cos(dec_rad) * math.cos(lat_rad) * math.cos(ha_rad))

    # Azimuth
    az_rad = math.asin(
        - math.cos(dec_rad) * math.sin(ha_rad) / math.cos(el_rad))

    if (math.sin(dec_rad) - math.sin(el_rad) * math.sin(lat_rad) < 0):
        az_rad = math.pi - az_rad
    elif (math.sin(az_rad) < 0):
        az_rad += 2 * math.pi

    return el_rad, az_rad

The Sun's Position, However, to calculate the sun's position throughout the day, both the elevation angle and the azimuth angle must be calculated throughout the Solar time, on the other hand is unique to each particular longitude. where: φ is the latitude. Latitude and longitude, coordinate system by means of which the position or location of any place on Earth’s surface can be determined and described. Latitude is a measurement of location north or south of the Equator. Longitude is a similar measurement east or west of the Greenwich meridian.

[PDF] Methods for calculating solar position and day , Traditional methods of calculating solar position use specific sets of tables positions of celestial objects, longitude/latitude for positions on the earth, between meridians and time will be discussed in the section titled Time. To compute the Sun's position (azimut and elevation I suppose) over a location on the Earth (longitude, latitude, altitude) at a certain moment in time (you need here JD=Julian Date) you must in

Analytical Model for Determining the Sun's Position at All Time Zones, Parameters like latitude, longitude, season and time of a day at a given location affect the position of the sun and amount of solar energy� When using a sun lamp, a "Track to" constraint should be applied so that the sun points at an empty or some other object located at the convergence of the XYZ axes (x: 0, y: 0, z: 0). This will allow proper shadow direction for a given latitude and longitude. ----- The sun position panel shows up in the Properties Panel of the 3D window.

Solar Azimuth Angle, These angles are physical parameters of the position of the Sun with respect to a Each 15� of longitude is 1 h and the local solar noon is 0�, so the sunset time the solar sunrise and sunset times and the day length for Zaragoza (latitude� A calculator able to show time when the sun is at given point would be a great addition. I.e. we set coordinates, date, sun azimuth. And we will have time at which the sun is in given azimuth. Such calculator will help to determine insolation time of building facades at both project and ready states.

Comments
  • You might have better luck in the math stackexchange
  • There's code to do this in the maptools package, see ?solarpos
  • Thanks @ulvund - might try there next.
  • Ok then I think you should just the copy the Javascript from the NOAA site, that's the source of a lot of versions out there. The code we wrote collapsed all this down into just what we needed in two smallish functions, but that was for elevation only and tuned to a particular app. Just view the source of srrb.noaa.gov/highlights/sunrise/azel.html
  • have you tried my answer from the previous question? ephem might even take into account refraction of the atmosphere (influenced by temperature, pressure) and elevation of an observer.
  • Thanks for the fantastic answer! I haven't been on here over the weekend so missed it sorry. Won't get a chance to try this until at least tonight, but looks like it'll do the trick. Cheers!
  • @SpoonNZ -- My pleasure. If you need pdf copies of any of those cited references, let me know at my email address, and I can send them to you.
  • @JoshO'Brien: Just added some suggestions in a separate answer. You might want to take a look and incorporate them in your own.
  • @RichieCotton -- Thanks for posting your suggestions. I'm not going to add them here, but only because they are R-specific and the OP was using the R-code to try to debug it before porting it to another language. (In fact, I've just now edited my post to correct a date-processing error in the original code, and it's exactly the sort of error that argues for using higher-level code like that you proposed.) Cheers!
  • One could also combine the julian dates to: time = 365*(year - 2000) + floor((year - 1949)/4) + day + hour - 13.5