Hemisphere Solar Tracker

In the Beginning...

... when Gods ruled the Earth, the undisputed King among them was the Sun. In this time, the mysteries of the heavens were etched into stone by the humans who worshiped them.

It was the duty of the seekers, the learners, and the most devout (of the time) to ensure that not a single whisper from the Gods would go unnoticed.

By tracking observations over the centuries, these wise scholars were able to foretell the seasons and the mechanics of the sky with the precision of the Universe's own heartbeat.

Today we have the Hemisphere Solar Tracker: not a seer’s crystal, or a menhir of forgotten man, but a bard’s quill, recording the solar procession with a precision that would make Pythagoras himself look twice.

This marvel, born from the crucible of innovation and the spirit of adventure, captures the ephemeral but rhythmic motion of the Sun.

Drawing of Hemisphere Solar Tracker<

Picture yourself on an ancient plain, or a remote hilltop, surrounded by the echos of history, the Hemisphere Solar Tracker at your side to make note of Sun's mysteries. The air is charged with anticipation, the landscape bathed in an otherworldly glow. In this moment, you are the keeper of celestial secrets, the bridge between the ancients and the age of discovery.

The Hemisphere Solar Tracker doesn’t just record the event; it weaves you into the very fabric of the universe's never-ending story, making you a part of the cosmic dance.

This is not just about capturing the Sun's light; it’s about capturing a moment in time. A moment of such thrilling adventure, that long after the shadow's fleeting embrace has vanished, it will leave behind a treasure trove of memories and awe that will sparkle in the mind's eye.

So, join us! Let's track the Sun throughout the day and months. Let's track the Sunrises and Sunsets. Let's track the Solar Equinoxes and Solstices. Let's even track the sun during an Eclipse as we discover the celestial mysteries that captivated the mind of humankind for centuries.

What is the Hemisphere Solar Tracker?

The Hemisphere Solar Tracker is a device designed to observe and record the Sun's movement across the sky. It consists of a hemispherical clear globe equipped with a magnetic compass and a spirit bubble level, and a measuring device. It allows the user to track the Sun's path, transforming the abstract concept of solar movement into a tangible and interactive learning experience.

The Hemisphere Solar Tracker is meant to be used for hourly observations of the Sun's journey, by marking sun's position on the hemisphere with shadows. These markings provide visual documentation of the sun's arc. By simplifying complex astronomical observations into accessible and engaging activities, this tracker serves not only as an educational tool but also to connect people more closely with the natural world.

It encourages curiosity and exploration, making it a valuable asset for both educational environments and personal exploration of the cosmos. The device is geared towards enthusiasts, educators, and students alike.

Equinox Image

What is an Equinox?

(In the above photo, the Equinox is represented by the circles above the Sun, and below the Sun)

During the year, there lies a phenomenon as enigmatic as it is enchanting — the Equinox.

A term whispered through the ages, its origins steeped in the Latin tongue, "aequinoctium" beckons us with a promise of balance.

"Aequus," the harbinger of equality, dances hand in hand with "nox," the mistress of night, in a celestial ballet that flirts with the notion of perfection. Though the lengths of day and night may not balance to the exactitude of a scholar's gaze, the approximation is a marvel to behold, a testament to the mysteries that cloak our existence.

As the Equinox unfolds its magic:

  • The day and night, in their perpetual duel for dominion, find themselves momentarily matched in strength. Like two great armies laying down their arms, they embrace in a truce that blankets the Earth in a fleeting equilibrium.
  • The Spring or Vernal Equinox, an indication of renewal, graces our calendars with its presence on the 19th, 20th, or 21st of March. The leap year, with its capricious nature, influences the precise moment when the Earth dons its springtime garb.

What is a Solstice?

(In the above photo labeled "Plate V," the Solstice is represented by the circles to the left of the Sun, and to the right of the Sun)

In the grand chronicle of celestial events, where stars and planets weave the fabric of time, there emerges a spectacle of such profound significance—the Solstice. This term, a relic of ancient wisdom, carries the weight of aeons with just its syllables.

"Derived from the Latin 'solstitium,' the term is a blend of 'sol,' meaning the Sun, and 'sistere,' meaning 'to stand still.' It evokes the image of the Sun pausing briefly in its constant journey across the sky."

As the Solstice unfolds its pageantry:

  • The Sun pauses, at the highest point in the sky during the Summer or the lowest point during the Winter, before the slow dance of the heavens resumes its course.
  • On this day, the curtain of night is either drawn back to its fullest, granting us the longest day, or it envelops the world in its most extended embrace, granting us the shortest day.
  • The Solstice, whether it ushers in the summer's warmth or winter's chill, divides the year into halves of light and shadow, warmth and cold, growth and rest. It is a pivot upon which the seasons balance, a cornerstone in the edifice of time.

The Summer Solstice, celebrated on the 20th, 21st or 22nd of June, and the Winter Solstice, on the 20th, 21st or 23rd of December, serve as gateways to the seasons. These dates, fixed stars in our calendar, are touched by the leap year's whisper, subtly shifting their place in our calendar.

In the tale of the Solstice, we find not just an astronomical event, but a chapter in the story of existence. It is a time for reflection, for celebration, and for reverence. As the Sun pauses in its skyward journey, it invites us to pause with it, to contemplate the cycles that govern not only the heavens but also the rhythms of our own lives. It is a moment to stand in awe of the cosmos's majesty, a call to ponder the mysteries that lie beyond the reach of our understanding, and a reminder of the light and darkness that resides within us all.

When are the Equinoxes and the Solstices?

Visit this website to find out the specific dates for your location.

The Hemisphere Solar Tracker


A. Parts & Tools Needed for the project

Supplies Needed

Parts Needed

Tools Needed

Parts & Tools Needed for the Tripod

Note: Our Pledge is that every project that we feature on our site will be something that we have actually built. The Links to parts, supplies, and materials will be to things have actually ordered and used. "* suggestion" means that the part we used is no longer available or there is a substitution in its place that we have not tried ourselves.

B. Paper and 3D Printing Files

Paper Print files

Original SVG Files

PDF Version of the same files

Printer Settings

Your printer must use the highest print quality, and have scaling disabled.

Settings to Print on Photo/Vinyl Paper

  • Select "Print."
  • Then, select the printer.
  • Go to the Page setup tab: Paper type: Photo ... Glossy II
  • Go to the Advanced tab: Print Quality: High
  • Go to the Advanced tab: Print Scaling: None

3D Printer Settings

Original FreeCAD file

Download the STL Files and print them with these settings. It is recommended to print them all separately rather than as one large print.

Local Copy Of STL Files

C. Assembly Instructions

The Hemisphere Solar Tracker

Full Assembly Instructions Instructions with a step-by-step guide.

D. Usage Instructions

Full usage instructions

The intro video above also has the usage instructions for the Hemisphere Solar Tracker

Gadget School Lessons

Lesson 01: Use different globes. You should have different globes for tracking different events.

a. The Equinox Tracking Globe. Track the location of the Sunrise & Sunset during the Spring Equinox. Then, do the same for the Fall Equinox. How do the markings line up?

b. The Solstice Tracking Globe. Track the location of the Sunrise & Sunset during the Summer Solstice. Then, do the same for the Winter Solstice. How do the markings line up?

Lesson 02: Use different colored dots. If you are tracking the Sun's path once a day per month, use different colored dots to differentiate each month. This way, you can see the difference in the Sun's position every month.

Lesson 03: We need to figure out a better way to show where to apply glue on our printed materials. Maybe, we should add cross-hatching or some kind of other visual representation that says, "Apply Glue here."


* This page may have affiliate links for some items. Each product that we have linked to is a product we have actually ordered and used. We will only link to items that are highly recommended by us.


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