The Sun-Earth-Moon System


Daily Motions
y The Sun provides light and warmth, and it is the

source of most of the energy that fuels our society.
y The Moon raises tides in our oceans and illuminates

our sky.

Daily Motions
y The Sun, Moon, planets, and stars rises in the east

and sets in the west.
y They do not orbit around Earth every day but appear

to because we observe the sky from a planet that rotates once every day, or 15° per hour.

y The time period from one sunrise or sunset to the next is called a solar day. y Our timekeeping system is based on the solar day.Earth¶s Rotation y The length of a day is a little longer than the time it takes Earth to rotate once on its axis. .

length of days. and temperatures change due to the Earth¶s orbital motion around the Sun. y The plane in which Earth orbits about the Sun is called the ecliptic. .Annual Motions y Weather changes.

Rotation is ³spin´. y Revolution is when one object takes a circular path around another object. .Rotation vs. Revolution y Rotation is when an object moves around it¶s own axis.

the orientation of Earth¶s axis remains fixed in space. the northern hemisphere is tipped away from the Sun. . while six months later. ‡ As Earth orbits the Sun.The Effects of Earth¶s Tilt y Earth¶s axis is tilted at 23. so at one point the northern hemisphere of Earth is tilted toward the Sun.5 degrees to an imaginary line perpendicular to the ecliptic.

.The Effects of Earth¶s Tilt y Our seasons are created by this tilt and by Earth¶s orbital motion around the Sun.

The Ecliptic .

The Effects of Earth¶s Tilt y Due to tilt and Earth¶s motion around the Sun. . the Sun changes its altitude in the sky.

Altitude .

5° north latitude. y During the summer solstice the Sun is directly overhead at the Tropic of Cancer. Happens around June 21. which is at 23.Solstices y The Sun¶s maximum altitude in the sky in the northern hemisphere is called the summer solstice. .

the Sun is directly overhead at the Tropic of Capricorn at 23. y This position is called the winter solstice.5° south latitude.Solstices y When the northern hemisphere is tilted away from the Sun. Happens around December 21. . the Sun has reached its lowest altitude in the sky.

Around December 21st.Solstices y Summer solstice ± the most daylight hours of the year. y Winter solstice ± the shortest day of the year. the longest night. the shortest night. Around June 21st. .

Solstices and Equinoxes .

Seasons Interactive y http://highered.html .com/sites/007299181x/student_view0/chapter2 /seasons_interactive.mcgraw- hill.

and the Sun is directly overhead at the equator. ‡ Autumnal (fall) equinox ± around September 23rd ‡ Vernal (spring) equinox ± around March 21st .Equinoxes ‡ When Earth¶s axis is not pointed toward the Sun both hemispheres receive equal amounts of sunlight.

(equinox = equal nights) y At the Tropic of Cancer or Tropic of Capricorn.5° from the point directly overhead during the equinoxes. . the Sun is 23.Equinoxes y The lengths of day and night are equal for both the northern and southern hemispheres when Earth is at the autumnal equinox and vernal equinox.

we cannot see the Moon because the sunlit side is facing away from us. this is called a new moon. we see the Moon¶s reflection of the Sun¶s light.Phases of the Moon ‡ Lunar phases are the changes in the appearance of the Moon. . ‡ The Moon does not emit visible light. ‡ When the Moon is between Earth and the Sun.

it is called a waxing crescent. y This increase is called waxing. When its less than half of the sunlit portion during this increases. .Phases of the Moon y As the Moon moves along in its orbit the amount of reflected sunlight that we can see increases.

. ‡ When it reaches half of the sunlit side.Phases of the Moon ‡ When we see more than half of the sunlit portion during an increase its called a waxing gibbous. its called the first quarter. ‡ When you see the whole moon its called the full moon.

Phases of the Moon y As the light decreases its called waning. .  Waning gibbous and waning crescent y During the middle of the waning phases when the Moon is half lit it is called the third quarter.


org/labs/moon/lunar_phase3.swf .Lunar Phases Interactive y http://aspire.cosmic- ray.

Synchronous Rotation y The Moon rotates with a period equal to its orbital period. . so it spins exactly once each time it goes around Earth. y Earth¶s gravity slowed the Moon¶s original spin until the Moon reached synchronous rotation. the state at which its orbital and rotational periods are equal.

y This is about 29.Motions of the Moon y The length of time it takes for the Moon to go through a complete cycle of phases is called a lunar month.5 dys. . y It takes 27.3 days to make one revolution around earth.

and this creates bulges of ocean water on both the near and far sides of Earth. .Tides y The Moon¶s gravity pulls on Earth along an imaginary line connecting Earth and the Moon.


Solar Eclipses y A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes directly between the Sun and Earth and blocks our view of the Sun. . y A partial solar eclipse is seen when the Moon blocks only a portion of the Sun¶s disk.

y A solar eclipse only happens when the intersection of the Moon and the ecliptic is in a line with the Sun and Earth. .The Effects of Orbits y Only when the Moon crosses the ecliptic is it possible for the proper alignment for a solar eclipse to occur.




.Lunar Eclipses y A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes through Earth¶s shadow. when the Moon is in the opposite direction from the Sun. y This can happen only at the time of a full moon.