Annual Motions: What causes the seasons?Earth Science
Basic Concepts… (We will refer to the NORTHERN HEMISPHERE.)1) Not caused by the Earth’s distance from the sun!!! Aphelion – Earth is 94.5 million miles away from the sun (IN JULY). Perihelion – Earth is 91.5 million miles away from the sun (IN JANUARY).
2) Caused by the Earth’s tilt of the AXIS: 23.5°. The Earth’s Axis remains at a fixed place (as it orbits around the sun), so that, at one point, the northern hemisphere of Earth is tilted toward the sun, while at another point six months later, the northern hemisphere is tipped away from the sun.
How does the angle affect our seasons? As the winter solstice approach, the amount of daylight is decreased. Why? During the winter, the sun’s rays will not hit our area directly. The sun appears to be at a lower altitude.
In contrast, during the summer, the sun hits our area more directly and the sun appears to be at a higher altitude.
Vernal Equinox:• Spring Vernal Equinox• March 21.• hits equator directly• average angle of insolation.• equal amts of day and night Summer Solstice Winter Solstice Autumnal Equinox: • Solstice: Autumnal Equinox WinterAutumn/FallSummer Solstice: • Sept 21. • winter• Sun hits the N. • Dec• 21. equator directly hitsHemisphere directly (Tropicof Cancer 23.5 N). • average • shortest day. angle of insolation.• June 21 – 22. • sun hits @ S. Hemisphere• longest amount of daylight • equal amts of day of directly at 23.5 S. (Tropicand night/ Capricorn).• high angle of insolation. • low angle of insolation.
Angle of insolation - The angle at which the suns rays strike aparticular location.Only latitudes between the tropic of cancer and Tropic of Capricorncan receive direct rays. The maximum angle of insolation is 90degrees.The angle of insolation varies with:1) Season - The maximum angle of insolation, maximum duration,andmaximum intensity occur during the summer.2) Latitude - As latitude increases, the angle of insolation decreases3) Time of day- From morning to noon the angle of insolation increasesand the from noon to evening the angle of insolation decreases.Q: When is the best time to get a tan during the summer? 12 noon or 6 pm?Why?
Angle of Insolation…* As the angle of insolation increases, the sun gets higher in the sky. As the sun gets higher in the sky the length of the shadow decreases.Effect 1:a) Winter – Our shadows are longer at noon (angle in low).b) Summer – Our shadows are shorter at noon (angle is high).
Effect 2:a) Winter – The duration (amount of time) of daylight is shorter.b) Summer – The duration of daylight is longer.Effect 3:a) Winter – intensity (heat) of insolation is low.b) Summer – intensity of insolation is higher.
The Sun-Earth-Moon SystemObjectives• Identify the relative positions and motions of Earth, the Sun, and the Moon.• Describe the phases of the Moon.• Explain eclipses of the Sun and Moon.Vocabulary – ecliptic – synchronous rotation – summer solstice – solar eclipse – winter solstice – perigee – autumnal equinox – apogee – vernal equinox – lunar eclipse
The Sun-Earth-Moon SystemThe Sun-Earth-Moon System• The relationships between the Sun, Moon, and Earth are important to us in many ways. – The Sun provides light and warmth, and it is the source of most of the energy that fuels our society. – The Moon raises tides in our oceans and illuminates our sky with its monthly cycle of phases. – Every society from ancient times to the present has based its calendar and its timekeeping system on the apparent motions of the Sun and Moon.
The Sun-Earth-Moon SystemDaily Motions• The Sun rises in the east and sets in the west, as do the Moon, planets, and stars as a result of Earth’s rotation.• We observe the sky from a planet that rotates once every day, or 15° per hour.
The Sun-Earth-Moon SystemDaily MotionsEarth’s Rotation – There are two relatively simple ways to demonstrate that Earth is rotating. 1. A Foucault pendulum, which has a long wire, a heavy weight, and will swing in a constant direction, appears from our point of view to shift its orientation. 2. Flowing air and water on Earth are diverted from a north-south direction to an east-west direction as a result of Earth’s rotation in what is known as the Coriolis effect.
If you sit and watch the Foucault pendulum for an hour,you will "see" that the plane of the swing of the iron ballslowly shifts anti-clockwise by about 8.4 degrees perhour.This is an optical illusion. The building is actuallyshifting "under" the Foucault Pendulum!The Foucault Pendulum (support + wire + iron ball) isattached to this building. The building is attached to thePlanet Earth, which rotates on its own axis about onceevery 24 hours.The Earth also goes around the Sun, once every year.The Sun, in turn, goes around the centre of our galaxy,The Milky Way, once every 250 million years. These areall local motions.
The Sun-Earth-Moon SystemDaily MotionsEarth’s Rotation – The length of a day as we observe it is a little longer than the time it takes Earth to rotate once on its axis. – Our timekeeping system is based on the solar day, which is the time period from one sunrise or sunset to the next.
The Sun-Earth-Moon SystemAnnual Motions• The annual changes in length of days and temperature are the result of Earth’s orbital motion about the Sun.• The ecliptic is the plane in which Earth orbits about the Sun.
The Sun-Earth-Moon SystemAnnual MotionsThe Effects of Earth’s Tilt – Earth’s axis is tilted relative to the ecliptic at approximately 23.5°. – As Earth orbits the Sun, the orientation of Earth’s axis remains fixed in space. – At one point, the northern hemisphere of Earth is tilted toward the Sun, while six months later it is tipped away from the Sun. – As a result of the tilt of Earth’s axis and Earth’s motion around the Sun, the Sun is at a higher altitude in the sky during summer than in the winter.
The Sun-Earth-Moon SystemAnnual Motions (Not on notes page).The Effects of Earth’s TiltAltitude ismeasured indegrees from theobserver’s horizonto the object. Thereare 90 degreesfrom the horizon tothe point directlyoverhead, calledthe zenith of theobserver.
The Sun-Earth-Moon SystemAnnual MotionsSolstices – As Earth moves from position 1, through position 2, to position 3, the altitude of the Sun decreases in the northern hemisphere. – Once Earth is at position 3, the Sun’s altitude starts to increase as Earth moves through position 4 and back to position 1.
The Sun-Earth-Moon SystemAnnual MotionsSolstices (Not on Notes Page) – The summer solstice occurs around June 21 each year when the Sun is directly overhead at the Tropic of Cancer, which is at 23.5° N. – The summer solstice corresponds to the Sun’s maximum altitude in the sky 90° in the northern hemisphere.*The latitude of Virginia Beach is36.852N. The longitude is-75.978W.
The Sun-Earth-Moon SystemAnnual MotionsSolstices (Not on Notes Page) – The winter solstice occurs around December 21 each year when the Sun is directly overhead at the Tropic of Capricorn which is at 23.5° S. – The winter solstice corresponds to the Sun’s lowest altitude in the sky in the northern hemisphere.
The Sun-Earth-Moon SystemAnnual MotionsEquinoxes – When the Sun is directly overhead at the equator, both hemispheres receive equal amounts of sunlight. – The autumnal equinox occurs around September 21, halfway between the summer and the winter solstices when the Sun is directly over the equator.
The Sun-Earth-Moon SystemAnnual MotionsEquinoxes – The vernal equinox occurs around March 21, halfway between the winter and the summer solstices when the Sun is directly over the equator. – For an observer at the Tropic of Cancer or Tropic of Capricorn, the Sun is 23.5° from the point directly overhead during the equinoxes.
The Sun-Earth-Moon SystemAnnual MotionsEquinoxesFor a personstanding at the x at23.5º N, the Sun (atnoon) would appearin these positions onthe winter solstice,the vernal equinox,and the summersolstice. On theautumnal equinox,the Sun would beat the samealtitude as on thevernal equinox.