# I’m in the northern hemisphere, why does the sun seem like it is setting in the north west?

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I’ve lived in my house for a few summers. Ever year around the solstice the sun seems to set in the north. I live in a city that’s laid out like a grid and always just assumed my street was on a slight angle. I just took out a compass and it’s not, the front of my house faces perfectly west and the sun seems to be setting slightly north, to the right of the window. I’m very confused. Is the sun playing a trick on me?

In: Physics

It depends on where in the Northern hemisphere you live. The [Tropic of Cancer](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tropic_of_Cancer) is the farthest North that the sun can be directly overhead, as the Earth revolves around the sun on a tilted axis. If you live between that and the Equator, the sun will occasionally be to the North of you.

Tldr: Because it is. It’s not an illusion.

The Earth is tilted compared to it’s orbit. This means the sun varies in it’s position from overhead depending on the time of year.

If you position yourself at the equator this means that half the year the sun is to your North, the other half it’s to your South depending on if the Earths North Pole is tilted towards our away from the sun.

Now let’s take the extreme and place you beat the North Pole in summer. From there the sun never sets at all. It’ll Skim the horizon but never set. Where you are it’s going to be in between.

The answer is pretty simple. In the summer it sets further north and in the winter it sets further south. The reason being because of the tilt of the earth. There is a common misconception that the seasons are caused by the proximity to the sun, but that’s false. The earth is tilted at an angle and as it goes around the sun the the pole that’s tilted towards the sun changes. The result is that when it is winter in the northern hemisphere it is summer in the southern. So because it’s summer in the northern hemisphere the North Pole is tilted towards the sun which causes it to set further north. If you watch a sun rise you’ll notice the same phenomenon. In the winter it is the reverse with the sun setting a little further south.