Sun or Moon Altitude/Azimuth Table
Astronomical Applications Dept. Astronomical Applications Dept.
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This page calculates the altitude and azimuth of the Sun or Moon at multiple times during any day between 1700 and 2100. Simply specify the object, date, tabular interval, and place below and click on the "Compute Table" button. The altitude and azimuth values are tabulated as a function of the time of the place requested on a 24-hour clock.

Use Form A for cities or towns in the U.S. or its territories. Use Form B for all other locations. Both forms are immediately below.

Please read the Notes section for details on the data and definitions of altitude and azimuth.

Form A - U.S. Cities or Towns




The place name you enter above must be a city or town in the U.S. The place's location will be retrieved from a file with over 22,000 places listed. Either upper- or lower-case letters or a combination can be used. Spell out place name prefixes, as in "East Orange", "Fort Lauderdale", "Mount Vernon", etc. The only exception is "St.", which is entered as an abbreviation with a period, as in "St. Louis". You need only enter as many characters as will unambiguously identify the place. The city or town name may be left blank if the State or Territory is District of Columbia.

Form B - Locations Worldwide



The place name you enter above is merely a label for the table header; you can enter any identifier, or none (avoid using punctuation characters). The data will be calculated for the longitude and latitude you enter below.

Note: Coordinate components should be entered as integers (no decimals).

Time Zone:    

Need coordinates?  Try NGA's GEOnet Names Server (GNS).
Need U.S. coordinates?  Try the USGS Geographic Names Information System (GNIS).
Need a time zone?  Try the time zone map.

Notes on the Data:

Altitude is the angle up from the horizon. Zero degrees altitude means exactly on your local horizon, and 90 degrees is "straight up". Hence, "directly underfoot" is -90 degrees altitude. Azimuth is the angle along the horizon, with zero degrees corresponding to North, and increasing in a clockwise fashion. Thus, 90 degrees is East, 180 degrees is South, and 270 degrees is West. Using these two angles, one can describe the apparent position of an object (such as the Sun at a given time).

The altitude and azimuth values are for the center of the apparent disk of the Sun or Moon. The altitude values include the effect of standard atmospheric refraction when the object is above the horizon. The azimuth values are computed with respect to true north (not magnetic). For instructions on using a true azimuth (bearing) with a compass, see NOAA's Geomagnetism FAQs. To determine the magnetic declination for a specific location and date, see NOAA's Geophysical Data Center - Magnetic Declination calculator.

A break in the output table indicates the object has dropped more than 12 degrees below the horizon and is not near the horizon again until the next indicated time.

For rise and set times, see Sun and Moon Data for One Day.

How to Import the Table into a Spreadsheet

Open your favorite text editor, then copy the numerical part of the table (i.e., do not copy the table headings) from your browser and paste it into the text editor. Save the data as a text file.

In Excel for Windows, select Data on the menu bar, then From Text. Select your saved text file. Choose fixed width in the dialog box.

In Excel for Mac, select Data on the menu bar, then Get External Data, then Import from Text File. Select your saved text file. Choose fixed width in the dialog box.

Legal Use of the Calculated Data

Please see Astronomical Data Used for Litigation if you are interested in using the data produced by this service for legal purposes.

Time Zones

For U.S. cities or towns (Form A), phenomena times are presented in the standard or daylight time (see below) of the place requested, using the current time zone of that place. Standard time in time zones was introduced in the U.S. in 1883, but the time zone boundaries have evolved considerably since then, with places shifting from one zone to another. This service makes no attempt to track such changes.

For worldwide locations (Form B) that require it, the time zone can be entered in hours and a fraction. For example, for locations in India, the time zone may be entered as 5.5 hours east of Greenwich. The time zone field can accommodate up to five characters.

Daylight Time

Daylight time is implemented only for U.S. cities or towns (Form A) and only for years 1967 and later, in accordance with the Uniform Time Act of 1966 and subsequent legislation. Daylight time is not used for places currently exempt from it.

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