# The Sun-Earth-Moon System

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Earth’s OrbitThe motion of one object around another object is calledrevolution. Earth makes one complete revolution around theSun every 365.24 days. The path an object follows as it movesaround another object is an orbit. Earth orbits the Sun in analmost circular path. Earth’s orbit is shown below.Earth’s motionwithout the Sun’sgravitational pullEarthVisual Check2. Describe What is theshape of Earth’s orbit aroundthe Sun? (Circle the correctanswer.)a. circleb. near circlec. a straight line3. Identify What producesEarth’s revolution around theSun?Reading Check4. Identify In whichdirection does Earth rotate?346The Sun-Earth-Moon System152 millionkm147 millionkmJanuary 3Earth is closestto the Sun.SunEarth’s OrbitThe Sun’s Gravitational PullEarth orbits the Sun because the Sun’s gravity pulls onEarth. The strength of gravity’s pull between two objectsdepends on the masses of the objects and the distancebetween them. An object with more mass has a greater pullof gravity than an object with less mass. Likewise, gravity’spull is greater on objects that are closer together.Earth’s orbit around the Sun, shown above, is like themotion of an object twirled on a string. The string pulls onthe object and moves it in a circle. If the string breaks, theobject flies off in a straight line. The Sun’s gravity is like thestring. Gravity keeps Earth revolving around the Sun in anearly circular orbit. If the pull of gravity between the Sunand Earth stopped suddenly, Earth would fly off into spacein a straight line.Earth’s RotationAs Earth revolves around the Sun, it spins. A spinningmotion is called rotation. Earth rotates on an imaginary linethat runs through its center. The line on which an object rotates isthe rotation axis.If you could look down onto Earth’s North Pole, youwould see that Earth rotates in a counterclockwise direction,from west to east. One complete rotation of Earth takes about24 hours. One rotation completes Earth’s cycle of day andnight. It is daytime on the half of Earth that faces the Sun. Itis nighttime on the half of Earth that faces away from theSun.Reading EssentialsCopyright Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.Key Concept CheckJuly 4Earth is farthestfrom the Sun.Gravitationalpull of the Sun

The Sun’s Apparent Motion Each day, the Sun appears tomove across the sky from east to west. It seems as if the Sunis moving around Earth. In fact, it is Earth’s rotation thatcauses the Sun’s apparent motion.Earth rotates from west to east. This makes the Sunappear to move from east to west across the sky. The Moonand stars also seem to move from east to west across the skydue to Earth’s west-to-east rotation. Earth’s west-to-eastrotation causes apparent east-to-west motion in the sky.The Tilt of Earth’s Rotation Axis Earth’s rotation axis istilted, as shown in the figure below. The tilt of Earth’srotation axis does not change. During one-half of Earth’sorbit, the north end of the rotation axis is toward the Sun.During the other half of Earth’s orbit, the north end of therotation axis is away from the Sun.Earth’s orbitReading Check5. Describe What causesthe Sun’s apparent motionacross the sky?RotationaxisNNSSDecemberSeptemberVisual CheckSunCopyright Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.6. Identify BetweenNEarthSMarchNSwhich months is the northend of Earth’s rotation axisaway from the Sun?JuneTemperature and LatitudeAs Earth orbits the Sun, the Sun shines on the half ofEarth that faces the Sun. Sunlight carries energy. The moresunlight that reaches a part of Earth’s surface, the warmerthat part becomes. Because Earth’s surface is curved, differentparts of Earth’s surface get different amounts of the Sun’senergy.Energy Received by a Tilted SurfaceSuppose you shine a flashlight onto a flat card. The beamshines in a circle on the card. As you tilt the top of the cardaway from the beam of light, the light becomes more spreadout on the card’s surface. The energy that the light beamcarries also spreads out more over the card’s surface. An areaon the surface within the light beam receives less energywhen the surface is more tilted relative to the light beam.Reading EssentialsReading Check7. Summarize Why dosome parts of Earth’s surfaceget more energy from theSun than other parts?The Sun-Earth-Moon System347

When the surfaceis tilted, the lightbeam is spread outover a larger area.Surface is vertical.Visual Check8. Determine Is the lightenergy more spread out onthe vertical or tilted surface?Key Concept Check9. Cause and Effect Whyis Earth warmer at the equatorand colder at the poles?Surface is tilted.The dotted line showsthe area covered bythe light beam beforethe surface was tilted.The Tilt of Earth’s Curved SurfaceInstead of being flat and vertical like the card shownabove on the left, Earth’s surface is curved and tilted,somewhat like the card on the right. Earth’s surface becomesmore tilted as you move away from the equator and towardthe poles. As a result, regions of Earth near the poles receiveless energy than areas near the equator. This is why Earth iswarmer at the equator and colder at the poles.SeasonsYou might think that summer happens when Earth isclosest to the Sun. However, seasonal changes do not dependon Earth’s distance from the Sun. In fact, Earth is closest tothe Sun in January! The tilt of Earth’s rotation axis andEarth’s motion around the Sun cause the seasons to change.Spring and Summer in the Northern HemisphereWhen Earth is 147,000,000 kmfrom the Sun, how far isEarth from the Sun in miles?To calculate the distance inmiles, multiply the distancein km by the conversionfactor.0.62 miles147,000,000 km 1 km 91,100,000 miles10. Convert Units WhenEarth is 152,000,000 km fromthe Sun, how far is Earthfrom the Sun in miles?348The Sun-Earth-Moon SystemTemperatures are higher in the northern hemisphere andlower in the southern hemisphere. Daylight hours last longer inthe northern hemisphere. Nights last longer in the southernhemisphere. It is spring and summer in the northernhemisphere and fall and winter in the southern hemisphere.Fall and Winter in the Northern HemisphereDuring the other half of Earth’s orbit, the north end ofthe rotation axis is away from the Sun, as shown in the leftfigure on the next page. Then, the northern hemispherereceives less energy from the Sun than the southernhemisphere does.Temperatures are cooler in the northern hemisphere andwarmer in the southern hemisphere. It is fall and winterin the northern hemisphere. At the same time, spring andsummer occur in the southern hemisphere.Reading EssentialsCopyright Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.Math SkillsDuring one-half of Earth’s orbit, the north end of therotation axis is toward the Sun. Then, the northern hemispherereceives more energy from the Sun than the southernhemisphere does. See the figure on the right on the next page.

Earth’s Seasonal Cycle Visual Check13. Show Highlight in onecolor the seasons that beginon each solstice and eachequinox in the northernhemisphere. Use a differentcolor to highlight theseasons that begin on eachsolstice and equinox in thesouthern hemisphere.December SolsticeThe December solstice is onDecember 21 or 22.The north end of Earth’s axis isleaning farthest from the Sun.The south end is closest.The northern hemisphere has itsfewest number of daylight hours,and winter begins.The southern hemisphere has itsgreatest number of daylighthours, and summer begins.June Solstice The June solstice is on June 20or 21. The north end of Earth’s axis isleaning closest to the Sun. Thesouth end is farthest away. The northern hemisphere hasthe greatest number of daylighthours, and summer begins. The southern hemisphere hasthe fewest number of daylighthours, and winter begins. March EquinoxThe March equinox is on March20 or 21.Both ends of Earth’s rotation axisare equal distances from the Sun.There are about 12 hours ofdaylight and 12 hours of nighteverywhere on Earth.Spring begins in the northernhemisphere.Fall begins in the southernhemisphere.September EquinoxThe September equinox is onSeptember 22 or 23.Both ends of Earth’s rotation axisare equal distances from the Sun.There are about 12 hours ofdaylight and 12 hours of nighteverywhere on Earth.Fall begins in the northernhemisphere.Spring begins in the southernhemisphere.Reading CheckAs the seasons change, the Sun’s apparent path across thesky also changes. In the northern hemisphere, the Sun’s paththrough the sky is highest on the June solstice. Similarly, theSun’s path is lowest on the December solstice.14. Recall When is theSun highest in the sky in thenorthern hemisphere?350The Sun-Earth-Moon SystemReading EssentialsCopyright Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.Changes in the Sun’s Apparent PathAcross the Sky

Mini Glossaryequinox: a day when Earth’s rotation axis is leaning alongEarth’s orbit, neither toward nor away from the Sunrotation: a spinning motionrotation axis: the line on which an object rotatesorbit: the path an object follows as it moves around anotherobjectsolstice: a day when Earth’s rotation axis is the most toward oraway from the Sunrevolution: the motion of one object around another object1. Review the terms and their definitions in the Mini Glossary. Write a sentence thatdescribes how solstices and equinoxes differ.2. In the two boxes in the first column, draw Earth to show how it rotates and how itrevolves. Then complete the other parts of the table.What is rotation?What does Earth’srotation cause?Copyright Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.Rotation is the spinning of anobject around an axis.Earth’s RotationWhat is revolution?What does Earth’srevolution cause?seasonsEarth’s RevolutionWhat do you thinkReread the statements at the beginning of thelesson. Fill in the After column with an A if youagree with the statement or a D if you disagree.Did you change your mind?Reading EssentialsConnect EDLog on to ConnectED.mcgraw-hill.comand access your textbook to find thislesson’s resources.END OFLESSONThe Sun-Earth-Moon System351

again. The seasons change as Earth moves around the Sun. Summer turns to winter because Earth’s motion changes how energy from the Sun spreads out over Earth’s surface. The Sun The nearest star to Earth is the Sun. The Sun is about 150 million km from Earth. The Sun is much larger than Earth. The Sun’s diameter is more than 100 times .

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