SUNRISE & SUNSET ON EARTH


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Courtesy: Fourmilab Switzerland

These images make it is easy to see which parts of Earth are currently rotating into daylight (sunrise) and darkness (sunset).  Remember: Earth rotates eastward, i.e. toward the right.

Due to the  Effects of Twilight, in the left view (from ahead of Earth in its orbit) the Sun is "rising" slightly east of the visible portion of Earth's terminator.  In the right view (from behind Earth in its orbit) the Sun is "setting" slightly west of the visible portion of Earth's terminator.  In both views Earth is shown with its axis 90° vertical so that the tilt of Earth's terminator will indicate the time of year.  At the June Solstice, the start of the Northern Hemisphere's summer, the views' shadows will show their maximum tilt (about 23½°), their top portions tilting away from each other.  At both equinoxes, the terminator will appear 90° vertical.  And at the December Solstice, the start of the Southern Hemisphere's summer, the views' shadows will again show their maximum tilt (about 23½°), this time with their bottom portions tilting away from each other.

These changing orientations of our global shadow are due to how Earth's 23½°-inclination to the Ecliptic manifests itself relative to the Sun, as Earth progresses in its orbit each year.  You can see this effect from above the North Pole on our  Equinoxes & Solstices through March 2014  page.


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