Sunrise and Sunset
The giant yellow ball in the sky is the Sun. At any given time throughout each day the Sun is shining, and it is day time somewhere. The Sun gives off heat, provides energy for living things, and can be used to provide solar power for electricity. The Sun appears to be moving across the sky as it shines throughout the day. As the Sun shines, the shadows change, and soon the day will come to ends it. Finally, in the evening the Sun seems to disappear as it becomes dark.
The cycle continues day after day beginning in the morning with a sunrise and then ending in the evening with a sunset. This phenomenon may be seen on the horizon over the ocean or viewed from a mountaintop across a forest of trees.
Sometimes a sunrise and sunset may look the same, but they are certainly different. In addition, the Sun only appears to 'move' across the sky, when realistically, it is the movement of the Earth that makes it appear that the Sun is moving. One thing sunrises and sunsets have in common is the beautiful sight, which is a result of the scattering of its light throughout the atmosphere. The scattering causes the different colors appearing in the sky during each sunrise and sunset.
A sunrise is also called sun up, and it is the moment the Sun makes its first appearance over the horizon each morning. Even on a cloudy day when the Sun cannot be seen, the Sun still rises and shines onto the surface of the Earth, resulting in daylight. The motion of the Earth causes the Sun to appear throughout the day.
However, the Sun stays in a single position at the center of the solar system. The Earth rotates or spins on its axis, the imaginary point where the Earth spins. The axis can be thought of as the finger someone uses as a basketball is spun in a circle, or as it rotates. The ball would represent the Earth. The Earth makes one complete turn on its axis every 24 hours. It turns toward the east. This turning towards the east causes a sunrise in the East. While standing along the East coast of the United States, a person could see the sunrise across the Atlantic Ocean.
In addition to the Earth moving on its axis, the Earth moves around the Sun. Because of the movement of the Earth during different seasons of the year, the Sun will rise at different times each morning. Sunrise times will differ depending on a person's location on Earth. Finally, the time-period in the morning when the sun begins to rise, but is not yet seen, is called twilight, and it is dawn. The sky begins to brighten but the Sun is not yet visible.
Of course, the opposite of a sunrise is the sunset or sundown. This time, the Sun disappears below the horizon because of the rotation and movement of the Earth. After the Sun has 'traveled' across the sky throughout the day, it results in a sunset and begins to get darker. During the evening, it is also twilight when the Sun has disappeared below the horizon on the West coast, but it is called dusk. A person standing on the West coast of the United States could see the sunset across the Pacific Ocean.
In some places on the Earth, such as north of the Arctic Circle and south of the Antarctic Circle, at least one day each year there is no sunrise or sunset. This is when it is either dark for 24 straight hours or light for 24 straight hours. In other places on the Earth, depending on the season of the year and the location, sunrise may take place very early in the morning and then set later at night.
The Sun may rise at the same time more than one day in a row, but rarely sets at the same time two days in a row. Because the Earth rotates and revolves at regular intervals, the time of sunrises and sunsets can be predicted in advance. For example, on January 1, 2037 in New York City, the Sun will rise at 7:20 AM and will set at 4:39 PM.
In summary, sunsets and sunrises are often spectacular and stunning sights with a wide variety of colors on display; red, orange, yellow, and many other shades. The Sun is not moving, but the Earth is constantly in motion each day which is the cause of the sunrises and sunsets.
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