My son answered e), but Scantron marked him wrong. Why? Please show the steps. How should he deduce the answer?

  1. A picture was taken in the Northern Hemisphere (e.g. Canada), featuring two skyscrapers. You can clearly see sunlight coming from the right hand side of the picture, gleaming just the right side of these skyscrapers. No sunlight whatsoever glistens their left side. What direction must the camera been facing?

a) North
b) South
c) East
d) West
e) More information is needed to answer this question.

  • $\begingroup$ Note that your title and the question you gave have different information. In the question you say "the sun shines on skyscrapers solely from the east", but don't mention that in the actual question? Please make sure to include the exact wording of the question as it'll impact the answers substantially :) $\endgroup$ Jul 14, 2022 at 16:06
  • $\begingroup$ @user. You need to invite "Scranton" to the forum to answer the question. "e)" is the correct answer, so Scranton appears to be wrong or clarify why "e)" is the wrong answer. $\endgroup$
    – JohnHoltz
    Jul 14, 2022 at 16:36
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Scantron is a technology used to score multiple choice tests automatically $\endgroup$ Jul 14, 2022 at 19:51

1 Answer 1


If the picture was taken in the early morning, with sun rising in the east the picture was taken from the south. If if was taken late in day, with the sun setting in the west, the picture was taken from the north.

During the normal course of the day, with the location in Canada, the location is well above the Tropic of Cancer, so the Sun is always in the southern part of the sky. If the right side of the buildings was illuminated the person taking the picture was to the west of the buildings.

  • $\begingroup$ The one dispute I have is "the sun is always in the southern part of the sky". From what I've seen, counterintuitively, the more north you go, the further the sun actually gets into the northern sky in the morning and evening. SunCalc shows this as you change targets, and locations in the Arctic Circle are also proof the sun gets in the northern part of the sky... as the sun transits a full 360° each day; this video shows a full cycle, wish it labeled directions. $\endgroup$ Jul 14, 2022 at 15:44
  • $\begingroup$ (This N sky in NH/S sky in SH is for all locations in a hem, peaks at solstice, terminates at equinox) I believe it's due to the fact the rotation axis isn't normal to the sun location... so any point north of the Tropic of Cancer will rotate to where it's "below" the sun-facing point at some point in a day = sun to north (can verify with a globe/your hands). Most points have sun set eventually, but more Poleward the further it reaches before doing so. Someone wiser than me could probably help explain better, but it's an error I used to always make. But the bulk of what you say is agreed :-) $\endgroup$ Jul 14, 2022 at 15:54

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