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Day and Night Workshop

In this workshop you will use a speeded-up simulation of the visible sky to help you understand why we experience night and day on our planet.

  1. The first movie we are going to watch shows a speeded-up view of the southern sky during the Spring season.
    When you are ready, click here to view it.
  2. Let's now ask ourselves a few questions:
    • Where does the Sun rise - from the North, South, East or West?
    • At what time does the Sun rise in the morning? (Hint - Pause the movie at sunrise and read the time).
    • At what time does the Sun set?
    • In what direction is the Sun when it is at its highest point in the sky (North, South, East or West)?
    • What do you notice about the stars during the night?
  3. Now that you have viewed what we see during the day and at night, let's see what actually causes all this movement across the sky. We are now going to view what's happening to the Earth from above.

    When you are ready, click here to see the next movie.

    You can see the movement of the sky as before, but this time there is an animation of the Earth spinning on its axis. Can you see the girl standing on the United Kingdom? The sky view in the window below the Earth animation is the one she sees through her own eyes.

  4. Now answer the following questions:
    • Where do you think the Sun is in the animation - to the left or right of the Earth?
    • Why is the back of the Earth in darkness?
    • What causes the Sun to appear to move in the sky during the day?
    • What causes the stars to appear to move during the night?

    If you are not sure, discuss what you are seeing with a friend or your teacher and try to work it out together.

    • What is happening when the Sun begins to rise in the sky in the morning?
    • What is happening when the Sun begins to set in the evening?
  5. Finally, let's look at a new season. Click here to see the movie for a European winter.
    • How does the length of the day change? Give a brief description.
    • Does the Sun rise and set at the same point on the horizon? Give a brief description.

You have now completed this workshop . . .