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Sun shines through Dorchester Heights Monument this morning

Kevin Wolf had a front-row seat - his porch - for the semi-annual Southiehenge, when the sun rises and shines directly through the top of the Dorchester Heights Monument. The next solar oculus will be in mid-August.

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Why does it only happen twice a year? Is there a particular focal point on the ground?

If not, since the openings on both sides of the steeple are obviously larger than pinholes, couldn't this occur much more frequently if viewers simply adjusted their distance from the steeple each time the sun reached the same azimuth?

Voting closed 11

Not sure if this will be enlightening but I sent Adam the pic and have observed this several times over the years. If you are observing from the West looking East the sun passes by the tower on a couple other days around the date it shines through the window but the alignment needs to be perfect for it to shine directly through. Which it does in both April and August (I dug through some old pics to jog my memory).

There is no easily discernible focal point, I think it's a broad swath on the West side of the park. I think if you are in slightly different locations the alignment is probably off by seconds or minutes on the same day. Watched it today and the sun passed by near the cupula at the top and not the window. You probably could have seen the sun through the window if you were extremely close but it kind of defeats it being interesting.

This time of year the sunrise is moving about 0.5 degrees to the North each day. By tomorrow I don't think it will even pass directly behind the tower at all, will already be too high in the sky. If you position yourself further Southwest it would if you could find the right spot, but you wouldn't see the Sun through the window.

Helpful for understanding where the sun is https://www.timeanddate.com/sun/usa/boston

Voting closed 6