We all know the length of your shadow depends on where the sun is in the sky so early in the morning (or late in the evening) when the sun is low… your shadow will be long. Likewise if the sun is high in the sky (like in the middle of the day) your shadow will be shorter. The sun is also lower in the sky on winter days (giving us longer shadows) and higher in the sky in the summer (giving us shorter shadows).
However if we wait until “high noon” (solar noon) when the sun is at its highest point for that day there are two day a year (one in the spring and one in the fall) that your shadow will be the same length as your height. This is the day when the sun will be 45o above the horizon at your location’s “high noon” (typically between 1:10 PM and 1:45 PM if you are on Daylight SavingsTime).
Since the distance you are north of the equator (your latitude) also affects the suns’ position in the sky here is a chart that will give you the approximate day your shadow will equal your heights at “high noon”. This also means that the sun will be getting lower and lower in the sky, even at “high noon” and will never be above 45 degrees up from the horizon until Feb or March depending on where you live.
Welcome Fall and Winter!
– All you need to know is your latitude… (Click here to find your locations latitude)
– How to calculate “solar noon” where you live… (Click here)
Example: You live in Cleveland, Ohio (latitude 41.5 o between 41o and 42o) so your shadow’s length = your height on March 11 in the spring and September 30th in the fall.
Note: The cities listed below have the approximate latitude shown
Latitude Spring Date / Fall Date Locations
25o latitude – Jan 25 / Nov 16 (Key Largo, Florida)
26 o latitude – Jan 27 / Nov 13 (Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Brownsville, TX)
27 o latitude – Jan 30 / Nov 10 (Fort Pierce, Fla., Sarasota, Fla)
28 o latitude – Feb 1 / Nov 8 (Tampa, Fla., Corpus Christi, TX)
29 o latitude – Feb 5 / Nov 5 (Ocala, Fla., San Antonio, TX)
30 o latitude – Feb 8 / Nov 2 (St. Augustine, Fla., New Orleans, LA., Austin, TX)
31 o latitude – Feb 11 / Oct 30 (Killeen, TX., Hattiesburg, Miss., Waycross, GA., Nogales, AZ)
32 o latitude – Feb 15 / Oct 27 (Savannah, Ga., Carlsbad, NM., Jackson, Miss., Montgomery, Ala., Midland, TX)
33 o latitude – Feb 18 / Oct 24 (Phoenix, AZ., Birmingham, AL., Tuscaloosa, AL., Oceanside, CA)
34 o latitude – Feb 20 / Oct 21 (Columbia, S.C., Los Angeles, Calif., Pomona, CA)
35 o latitude – Feb 22 / Oct 18 (Albuquerque, N.M., Amarillo, TX., Charlotte, NC., Flagstaff, AZ., Memphis, TN)
36 o latitude – Feb 24 / Oct 15 (Tulsa, Okla., Knoxville, TN., Nashville, TN., Las Vegas, NV)
37 o latitude – Feb 27 / Oct 12 (Springfield, Mo., Virginia Beach, VA., Roanoke, VA., Santa Cruz, CA)
38 o latitude – March 1 / Oct 10 (Louisville, KY., Charlestown, WV., Telluride, CO., Holcomb, KS., San Rafael, CA)
39 o latitude – March 4 / Oct 6 (Washington, D.C., Cincinnati, Ohio., Kansas City, Mo., Grand Junction, CO)
40 o latitude – March 7 / Oct 4 (Philadelphia, PA., Columbus, Ohio., Boulder, CO., Champaign, IL )
41 o latitude – March 10 / Oct 1 (New York City, NY., Cheyenne, WY., Lincoln, Neb., Salt Lake City, UT)
42 o latitude – March 12 / Sept. 29 (Chicago, IL., Springfield, Mass., Erie, PA., Ames, Iowa)
43 o latitude – March 15 / Sept. 27 (Syracuse, N.Y., Buffalo, N.Y., Grand Rapids, Mich., Milwaukee, Wis.)
44 o latitude – March 18 / Sept. 25 (Montpelier, Vt., Eugene, Ore., Bath, ME., Rapid City, SD)
45 o latitude – March 20 / Sept. 22 (Minneapolis, MN., Portland, Ore., Oxbow, Ore,. Faulkton, SD, Biddle, MT)
46 o latitude – March 22 / Sept. 19 (Fargo, N.D., Cougar, WA., North Bay, Ontario Canada)
47 o latitude – March 25 / Sept. 16 (Virginia, MN., Glendive, MT., Seattle., WA)
48 o latitude – March 28 / Sept. 14 (Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada, Quebec City, Quebec Canada)
49 o latitude – March 30 / Sept. 11 (Vancouver, BC Canada, northern border of US from MN to Pacific Ocean)
50 o latitude – April 2 / Sept. 9 (Roberts Point, WA., Winnipeg, Man., Canada, Port-Cartier, Quebec Canada)
For every degree your live north of latitude 25 degrees, the day your height equals the length of your shadow will be a little less than 3 days latter (per degree) from Jan 25 (and a little less than 3 days earlier than November 16th in the fall).