Following the Sun’s Unique Path
Every day the Sun crosses the sky, rising in the east and setting in the west, but in detail its path is different every time. If it is winter, or if you live in the north, the Sun is lower and stays closer to the southern horizon. While the time of year and the location have similar effects, they act independently on the overall path. The Sun’s path is unique for your place and time.
You can see the sunpath today at your location; the default is the perspective of looking toward the southern horizon.
The autumnal equinox is tonight (in North America), but in Pyramid Point (a place close to the equator in the Pacific), the equinox will occur Thursday, close to noon, when the Sun will be almost overhead.
In other parts of the world, the Sun’s path is better viewed looking straight up to the zenith.
In the tropics, there will be a time of year when the Sun is directly overhead, making the horizon view difficult to visualize. Well, not precisely overhead. For a given position, the Sun is overhead if the Sun’s declination is the same as the latitude at the precise moment of solar noon. In other words, it basically never happens that the Sun is directly overhead. However, one notable near-exception is on the day of the vernal or autumnal equinox, when the Sun, as viewed from the equator, rises from almost exactly due east, passes over the zenith directly overhead, and sets at almost exactly due west.
An orthogonal path can be seen near a midnight Sun situation like in Reykjavik on June 21, 2010.
Or near polar night:
Each path is unique in detail, but not every geometry is possible because Earth’s rotation is very close to uniform, and because the obliquity also does not change very much. But from other places in our solar system, other sunpaths are possible; like from Uranus, one could see the Sun rotating close to the zenith because of its lopsided obliquity. Many bodies do not even rotate along a consistent axis, and from them anything is possible.
So check out the Sun’s path on Wolfram|Alpha, then go out and enjoy the day. There never will be another one quite like it.