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day and night


Day and night are caused by the spinning of our planet. When the Sun is in the sky, light from the Sun can reach us, which makes it daytime. When the Sun disappears the sunlight cannot shine on us and we have night.


Light travels in straight lines so only half the world can be lit up by the Sun; the other half must be in darkness.

Shaded Earth Why doesn't it get dark as soon as the Sun sets? - The Earth's atmosphere scatters some light from the Sun and creates twilight even though we cannot see the Sun directly

We say that the Sun rises in the East and sets in the West because that is what appears to be happening. But this is an illusion caused by the rotation of the Earth.


As we stand on the spinning Earth, it is we who are moving towards the East rather than the Sun moving westwards.


Stand outside on a sunny day and try imagining that instead of the Sun travelling westwards across the sky, it is YOU and the Earth’s surface that are moving eastward.

* OK   ** Tricky   *** Brain Teaser
Q *** Quick Quiz! A ***
Did you know? - The ancient Eqyptians believed that Ra, the Sun God, sailed across the sky each day

The Hindu view of the universe was even more imaginative. They believed that the Earth was carried on the back of a group of elephants, which stood on a turtle. The whole universe was encircled by a cobra. Earthquakes were thought to be caused when the elephants moved!

This picture shows the day and night boundaries on the Earth. The green line in the centre shows the Equator
How many astronomers does it take to change a lightbulb? - None, they're not afraid of the dark!   * OK   ** Tricky   *** Brain Teaser
Q ** Quick Quiz! A **



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