Weather Wise Kids: Why does the sun go down?

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This week’s Weather Wise Kid wanted to know, “Why does the sun go down?”

Well the sun never truly goes down. It actually stays in the center of our solar system. Although we call it sunrise and sunset, it’s really the earth’s rotation that causes this beautiful event we get each morning and each night.

This might be a confusing so let me show you an example. Feel free to join me. All you need is a flash light and a ball. Picture Holly as the sun and me as the earth. The flashlight represents the sun’s rays shining on earth (the ball). I spin the ball to represent the rotation of the earth. One full rotation of the ball equals 24 hours or one day on earth. Watch what happens to the light and dark areas as the ball spins. As the earth rotates different locations on earth pass through the sun’s light. As Savannah turns towards the sun and begins to enter its light the sun seems to rise in the east. As Savannah begins to leave the sun’s light and enter darkness is appears to set in the west.

You may have heard the phrase “the sun rises in the east and sets in the west” and now you know exactly what it means. The sun isn’t actually moving up or down, but it appears to rise and set because of the earth’s rotation on its axis.

Thanks so much for the question and enjoy gazing at that beautiful sun! Just don’t forget to wear your sunglasses.

Meteorologist Ariella Scalese.

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