Measuring Earth

Earth’s Shape
• Earths Shape is an Oblate Sphere
– Longer in one direction then the other

Earths Dimensions
• The circumference of the earth
– The length of a line that goes around the middle of the earth and forms a circle – Average Circumference ~40,000 km – Equatorial Circumference: 40,074 km
• Goes around the equator and is flatter

Polar

– Polar Circumference: 40,007 km
• Runs from north pole to south pole and back

Equatorial

– Equatorial is larger due to the rotation of the earth

•At the Poles we are closer to the center = stronger gravity = more weight

Center of Earth= center of gravity

The Oblate Sphere
• • • • The difference is small We can not see it with the naked eye It still appears like a sphere Be careful on multiple choice

Roundness Ratio
• A measure of how round an object is with a circle being measured as 1 • Polar circumference is .998 while the equatorial circumference is 1.001 • Earth bulges at the equator and flattens at the poles.

Earths Surface
• What do the following have in common?
– Silk – Babies butt – Me – Surface of marble – Glass

Earths Surface
• When you look at the Earth, does it look smooth?

Take a better look

Models
• Smaller copies or representations of a system • Models are used to help us understand the real thing • Models are made in scale and proportions
– This means they look identical to the original, usually just smaller. – May not be 100% accurate or to scale

Scale: size of sample in proportion to the real thing

What would make a good model of Earth?
• Bowling Ball • Cue Ball • Marble • Why?
– Because it is round and smooth.

How do we know the earth is round?

Ancient Evidence

Ships appear to sink gradually below horizon

Polaris North Star
• This is the star that lies in space practically over the geographic North Pole of the earth.

Polaris

• If you stood at the North Pole, Polaris would be almost

Polaris – North Star
• If you can spot Polaris in the sky, you can always tell which way is north. Because of this, Polaris was the most important star for navigating at sea.

• The North Star appears lower and lower in the sky as you travel toward the equator because of earth’s spherical shape, where the North Star is just visible at the horizon. The latitude of the equator is 0°.

Why do observations of Polaris help determine the Earth’s shape?????

Polaris Changes in Altitude – Polaris is a fixed point above the North Pole.

90º

Polaris – Fixed Point above the North Pole
• Because of this, in the Northern Hemisphere, the altitude (angle measured in degrees above the horizon) of Polaris tells observer his latitude position. • If observer’s latitude changes in the Northern Hemisphere, the altitude of Polaris will exactly match observer’s latitude. ALT OF POLARIS = LAT OF OBSERVER

Locating Polaris – our latitude is 41°N , Polaris’ altitude will be 41°

Lunar Eclipse
• Only a sphere can cast a shadow that appears round. During a lunar eclipse, the earth casts its shadow on the moon during the full moon phase.

Modern Evidence

Picture from space
• BEST EVIDENCE that we have about earths shape

Gravity Measurements
• As distance from Earth’s Core Increases, an objects weight decreases. • People way less at the equator than at the poles because they are farther away from the core.

Polaris – Fixed Point above the North Pole
• Because of this, in the Northern Hemisphere, the altitude (angle measured in degrees above the horizon) of Polaris tells observer his latitude position. • If observer’s latitude changes in the Northern Hemisphere, the altitude of Polaris will exactly match observer’s latitude. ALT OF POLARIS = LAT OF OBSERVER

Locating Polaris – our latitude is 41°N , Polaris’ altitude will be 41°

We will be taking a “virtual” field trip to different spots on the Earth and viewing the stars there. We are going to focus in on two major constellations, and one very important star—Polaris, or the North Star.

Through the magic of “virtual astrovision,” we will be viewing the sky at the same time in every location we go to! We need to do this so that we can see the sky the same way at each location.

As you may already know, our view of the constellations change over an evening—the stars appear to move because the Earth is rotating!**** Your view of the sky at 9:00 p.m. is different from your view at 11:00 p.m., just for example.

****Polaris is the exception to this!!!

We are going to deal with this problem by arriving at each location at precisely the same time…through our superstellar supersonic time machine (SSTM)!

Hop on board!

Hop on board!

Hop on board!

Hop on board!

Hop on board!

Our first stop is really closeby! Central Park in New York City!

What is the latitude of NY city?

New York, New York 41o N Latitude Big Dipper Cassiopeia
Polaris

Pointer Stars

We are going to “calibrate” our screen so that we can make measurements of the location of Polaris in other places on Earth. We will be using a device called a “sextant.” This measures the star’s angle above the horizon. This is called ALTITUDE. ALTITUDE This simulation is only in 2-D, so the sextant appears like a ruler. However, in the real-world of 3-D, this device would measure what angle you have to tilt your head up in order to see a star. Therefore, if the star is at the horizon, the angle is ZERO. Directly overhead, the angle is 90o.

New York, New York 41o N Big Dipper
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Cassiopeia
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Polaris

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Pointer Stars

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Measure the altitude of Polaris

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What does this view “feel like” in 3dimensions?
POLARIS The arc represents the Celestial hemisphere (the sky above)

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The ground W There is a 41 degree angle between the horizon and Polaris.

In other words, the viewer must tilt his or her head (and telescope!) up 41o from the horizontal in order to directly see Polaris.

Now let’s head to Tampa, Florida and view the night sky there!

Tampa, Florida What is the altitude of Polaris in Tampa?
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What is the altitude of Polaris in Tampa?
Again, let’s get a feeling of what this looks like in 3-D!

What does this view “feel like” in 3dimensions? Plot the position of Polaris for Tampa
The arc represents the Celestial hemisphere (the sky above)

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Did you notice that the Big Dipper, and Cassiopeia are also lower in the sky here…

Tampa, Florida
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New York, New York 41o N …than in New York!
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What is the latitude of Tampa?

Now we are flying off to Popayán, Colombia in order to view the tropical night sky!

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Popayán, Colombia What is the altitude of Polaris in Popayán?
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What is the altitude of Polaris in Popayán ?

Again, let’s get a feeling of what this looks like in 3-D!

What does this view “feel like” in 3dimensions? Plot the position of Polaris for Popayán
The arc represents the Celestial hemisphere (the sky above)

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In Popayán, how would you have to orient your head so you could see Polaris?

What is the latitude of Popayán?

Predict where you would find Polaris if you were at o the Equator (O )

Let’s see if you are getting the hang of this! For our next stop we are going to view the sky FIRST, and then predict our latitude from our view of Polaris! Pretty neat, huh!

Mystery Location

Before, we measure, determine this: Are we North or South of NY? Here is NY again for comparison…

New York, New York 41o N Latitude And now back to our mystery location!

O.K.! Let’s determine the altitude of Polaris…

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So where is Polaris in this location?

The arc represents the Celestial hemisphere (the sky above)

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So now we know what latitude we are at. What is it?

Of the choices given, where in the world are we?

Churchill, Canada Quebec, Canada Hartford, CT
Washington, D.C.

New Orleans, LA

Now that you’re so good at this, predict the altitude of Polaris at the North Pole!

Let’s imagine what it would be like to do this at the North Pole. Be careful you don’t strain your neck!

…and make sure you are EXTRA good while you are here!!!! You know who’s watching….

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What is the altitude of Polaris?

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Where is Polaris at the North Pole?

The arc represents the Celestial hemisphere (the sky above)

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Describe what you would have to do in order to view Polaris at the North Pole.

All aboard for our last stop! Another mystery location for you to solve!

To give you a hint, we’ll place a marker where Polaris would be if we were in New York at this time… Do the measuremen t…

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Of the choices given, where in the world are we?

Churchill, Canada

Ottawa, Canada Philadelphia, PA

Meridian, MS

Havana, Cuba

Well, our adventuring is over for today! Thanks for making our mission a success!

Well, our adventuring is over for today! Thanks for making our mission a success!

Well, our adventuring is over for today! Thanks for making our mission a success!

Well, our adventuring is over for today! Thanks for making our mission a success!

Well, our adventuring is over for today! Thanks for making our mission a success!

WHEE! See you next time!!!!!

Well, our adventuring is over for today! Thanks for making our mission a success!

Latitude and Longitude

Latitude lines run east/west but they measure north or south of the equator (0°) splitting the earth into the Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere. Lines of Latitude never touch.

Altitude of Polaris = Latitude of where you are

Latitude
Lines of latitude are numbered from 0° at the equator to 90° N.L. at the North Pole. North Pole
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South Pole

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1o of latitude = 70 miles or 112 km of earth

Lines of latitude are numbered from 0° at the equator to 90° S.L. at the South Pole.

Latitude
The North Pole is at 90° N

The equator is at 0° latitude. It is neither north nor south. It is at the center between north and south. Latitude = Fattitude because earth is fatter at the equator.

40° N is the 40° line of latitude north of the equator.

40° S is the 40° line of latitude south of the equator.

The South Pole is at 90° S

Longitude
Lines of longitude begin at the Prime Meridian. Which runs through Greenwich England. The whole Planet sets clocks by this

60° W is the 60° line of longitude west of the Prime Meridian.

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The Earth Rotates 15o of longitude per hour.

60° E is the 60° line of longitude E east of the Prime Meridian.

The Prime Meridian is located at 0°. The International Date Line is located at 180o. It is neither east or west. Lines run from North to South Poles. The lines are not parallel.

180°

Longitude
East Longitude W

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West Longitude

North Pole

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Lines of longitude are numbered east from the Prime Meridian to the 180° line and west from the Prime Meridian to the 180° line.

Prime Meridian
The Prime Meridian (0°) and the 180° line split the earth into the Western Hemisphere and Eastern Hemisphere.
Prime Meridian

Western Hemisphere

Eastern Hemisphere

Places located east of the Prime Meridian have an east longitude (E) address. Places located west of the Prime Meridian have a west longitude (W) address.

Longitude and Time Zones
• Longitude can be used to figure out time at different locations • Time zones and Latitude don’t always exactly match.

What direction does the earth rotate?
• Sun rises in the east and sets in the west
– This means that as the sun moves in the sky from east to west, the earth is rotating from west to east (the sun is stationary and doesn’t actually move).

• As you move west of the prime meridian there is an earlier clock time • As you move east of the prime meridian there is a later clock time.

How is time and longitude related?
• How many degrees are in a circle? • How many hours does it take for the earth to rotate • If it takes 24 hours to rotate 360o, then it must rotate 15o per hour
– 360o/24 hrs = 15o/hr.

Practice
• The time at the prime meridian is 12 pm
– – – – What is the time at 15o west of the P.M.? Time 45o east of the P.M.? Time 30o west of the P.M.? Where is the clock time 5 pm?

By combining latitude and longitude, any location can be pinpointed

A location’s coordinates (____° N or S, ____ ° E or W)

Application
N W E

S North America is in the Northern Hemisphere because it is north of the Equator. North America is in the Western Hemisphere because it is west of the Prime Meridian.

Fractions of a Degree
• • • 1 degree = 60 minutes or 1 minute is 1/60th of a degree Use minutes if location is not directly on the latitude/longitude line Written ----- Degree/minute = XX° xx’ compass direction

30’ is half-way between degrees

3 Spheres (parts) of Earth
• Exterior of the Earth is broken down into:
1. Atmosphere 2. Lithosphere 3. Hydrosphere

Atmosphere
• A thin shell of gasses surrounding the earth held by gravity.
– Atmosphere composition:
• 78% Nitrogen • 21% Oxygen • 1% Argon, CO2, Helium, H2O vapor

• It extends several hundred KM (~400-500 miles) from the surface with most of it’s mass concentrated in the lower few kilometers.

Lithosphere
• Layer of rock that forms the solid outer shell of the earth (~100 km or 60 miles thick). • The upper portion is called the crust. • Much of the Lithosphere is covered by a layer of soil or lose rock.

Hydrosphere
• The thin layer of water resting on the lithosphere • Covers about 70% of the earth • Make up: Oceans, Lakes, Rivers, Streams • Average Thickness (avg. depth) is about 2.5 miles of ocean.