TiltingSun Software

TiltingSun Software: A Comprehensive Tool for Understanding the Sun's Orientation

When observing the Sun with an equatorially mounted telescope, one may notice that the Sun's poles appear to point in different directions throughout the year. This phenomenon is a result of the tilt of both the Sun's and Earth's rotation axes with respect to the ecliptic, the plane of the Earth's orbit around the Sun. However, things become more complicated when using an altazimuth mount or camera tripod. That's where the TiltingSun software comes into play.

Understanding the Complexity of Solar Orientation

The TiltingSun software, specifically TiltingSun2, is a powerful freeware tool that provides valuable insights into the Sun's orientation, poles, equator, rotation direction, prominence position angles, and drift direction for any given date, time, and location. It offers a customizable view that can be tailored to match various telescopes and mounting configurations.

Exploring the Features of TiltingSun Software

TiltingSun2 goes beyond simple visualization; it also offers numerical displays of essential solar parameters. These parameters include the meridian tilt, as well as the solar parameters Bo, P, and Lo. With this information at hand, users can gain a deeper understanding of the Sun's behavior and make more accurate observations.

The software also includes TiltingSun-G, a feature that allows users to create custom grids to overlay on solar images. This functionality is particularly useful for analyzing and interpreting solar data in a more precise and organized manner.

Making Sense of Solar Observations

One of the challenges when observing the Sun is its lack of permanent markings. Unlike the Moon, which features distinct craters and landmarks, the Sun's surface does not provide clear reference points for determining its orientation. Without a reliable guide, it can be challenging to accurately interpret solar observations. However, with TiltingSun software, this challenge is overcome.

Enhancing Solar Imaging and Analysis

TiltingSun software serves as a valuable tool for both amateur and professional astronomers. By providing detailed information about the Sun's orientation and various parameters, it enables users to enhance their solar imaging and analysis capabilities. With the ability to customize the view for different telescopes and mounting configurations, users can align their observations with greater accuracy and precision.

Advancing Scientific Understanding

The TiltingSun software contributes to the advancement of scientific understanding in the field of atmospheric optics. By offering a comprehensive and detailed visualization of the Sun's orientation, it allows researchers and enthusiasts to delve deeper into the complexities of solar behavior. This deeper understanding can lead to new insights and discoveries about our nearest star.


In conclusion, the TiltingSun software is a remarkable tool that facilitates a more comprehensive understanding of the Sun's orientation. With its ability to display essential solar parameters, customize views for different telescopes, and create custom grids for solar image analysis, it empowers astronomers to make more accurate observations and enhance their understanding of the Sun's behavior. Whether you are an amateur stargazer or a seasoned researcher, the TiltingSun software is a valuable addition to your arsenal of astronomical tools.

The Sun's and Earth's rotation axes are both tilted with respect to the ecliptic, the plane of the Earth's orbit around the Sun. This causes the Sun's poles to appear to point in different directions throughout the year as seen in an equatorially mounted telescope.

Use an altazimuth mount or camera tripod and things get more complicated!

The 'TiltingSun2' views at left show the sun at three times on March 15, 2006 at Toronto as it would be oriented in a PST H-Alpha 'scope. A PST inverts the view. A Solarmax40/60/90 has an erect view but left and right are flipped. Unlike the Moon, the Sun has no permanent markings and without a guide it is not easy to know its orientation..

TiltingSun2_ is freeware which shows the Sun's orientation, poles, equator, rotation direction, prominence position angles and drift direction for any date, time and location.

The view can be customized for any telescope and mounting._

The meridian tilt, the solar parameters Bo, P and Lo are also displayed numerically.

TiltingSun-G_ lets you make custom grids to overlay on solar images.

Large View. Download TiltingSun & TiltingSun-G._

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Reference Atmospheric Optics

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  • "TiltingSun Software". Atmospheric Optics. Accessed on November 30, 2023. https://atoptics.co.uk/blog/tiltingsun-software/.

  • "TiltingSun Software". Atmospheric Optics, https://atoptics.co.uk/blog/tiltingsun-software/. Accessed 30 November, 2023

  • TiltingSun Software. Atmospheric Optics. Retrieved from https://atoptics.co.uk/blog/tiltingsun-software/.