13 April 2011
Posted in WFTV Severe Weather Center 9
Throughout the year the sun appears at different locations at the same time of day. At 6 P.M. in July it's still sunny outside, while at 6 P.M. in January the Sun has already set. These differences are easily seen month by month, but not easily seen by the days or the weeks.
The sun tracking experiment will allow you to see that the sun appears in different locations at same specific time everyday. This is a great outdoor summer activity that will be fun for you and your family! Here is how it works:
- Glue a wooden stick to a cardboard square so that it stands upright at the edge, so the whole shadow can be seen on the square.
- Place the cardboard square outside where it can be exposed to the sun on a flat surface. Every day at the same time make a mark on the cardboard where the tip of the shadow is located and write the date. (It is important for the board to be in the exact location, facing the same direction everyday. It may be useful to mark the ground location where you will be putting the cardboard)
- Repeat this daily or weekly at the same exact time each day.
- Look at the results to discuss with your family about how often the sun moves compared to your expectations.
The tilt of the Earth’s axis which causes the Earth to Face the Sun at an 23 degree angle is what causes the change in the shadow’s location. Depending on where the Earth is located in its orbit around the sun is what determines the length of day. The length of the days changes because the Earth’s location around the sun is contantly changing.