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Skywatch

Fri Apr 7, 2017 CHANGES IN LATITUDE, CHANGES IN DAYLIGHT

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   The times of sunset and sunrise change from day to day, but they also change as you move north or south. Near the equator, day and night are fairly equal in length throughout the year; but as you head toward the poles, the daylight and darkness periods around the beginnings of summer or winter become extreme. Most places on earth experience long daylight periods with short nights in the summer months, and short daylight periods and long nights in the winter. This is caused by the earth’s tilt as it travels around the sun. A lot of us have a mental picture of the earth flopping over from one side to the other as it moves in its orbit, but that’s not the case. It’s more like watching a steady gyroscope, with the axis of rotation pointed always in one direction, and that direction, the spot in the sky where the earth’s north pole is aimed, is toward the star Polaris, more commonly called the North Star.