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Last Post 3/19/2013 1:59 PM by  Christina Cohen
Noon at the poles
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3/19/2013 12:56 PM
    What is the highest that the sun appears in the sky at the poles? Is it the same at both poles? Why? Thanks Glenn

    Christina Cohen

    Basic Member

    Basic Member

    3/19/2013 1:59 PM


    The highest position that the Sun appears (anywhere, not just at the poles) depends on the season, because of the tilt of the Earth's spin axis relative to the plane in which the Earth orbits the Sun. This tilt is 23.5 degrees. At the summer solstice the pole leans towards the Sun by this amount and at the winter solstice it leans away from the Sun by this amount. At the north pole the summer solstice happens on June 21, this is the winter solstice for the south pole. The summer solstice for the south pole is on December 21 (which is the winter solstice for the north pole).

    Because of this tilt the Sun never rises above the horizon at the poles during the winter and never sets below the horizon during the summer. The highest the Sun will appear in the sky at the poles is 23.5 degrees at the summer solstice. It is the same for both poles beause the poles are exactly opposite each other (along the spin axis of the Earth).


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