What Causes Day And Night On Earth? Top Science Facts For Kids

Christian Mba
Jun 07, 2024 By Christian Mba
Originally Published on Nov 25, 2021
Beautiful panorama landscape with sun and forest and meadow at sunrise.

Every day, Earth experiences sunrise, sunset, day, and night.

Variations in these events generally occur due to the weather and seasonal changes. Therefore, day and night may vary in length, and they may be either shorter or longer for various reasons.

Just as busy as our lives on Earth are, the Earth itself is equally busy, with no time to rest. It revolves around its orbit all the time.

There are many parts of the world where the Sun may be out for a long time and the Moon for a long time. This means the night is longer in some regions, while the day may be shorter, and vice-versa.

Daytime is when the part of the Earth that is facing the Sun is exposed to light. The Sun remains fixed in one position, so even at night, it stays where it is. It's just the Earth that moves.

Due to this, the Sun also seems to appear to move up in the morning, known as sunrise. During summer, the days are longer, whereas, during winter, the nights are longer than the daytime.

People often question what the reason is behind day and night. The basic answer to this question is that the Earth spins on its axis as it orbits around the Sun.

Earth's axis is tilted. So, day and night are caused by the Earth's rotation, which happens when it moves from a western direction to an eastern direction.

That is the reason for sunrises on the eastern horizon and sunsets on the western side.

As observed by scientists, the Earth moves in a clockwise direction. During the Earth's rotation, one side of the Earth faces in the direction of the Sun and the other side is automatically faced in the opposite direction.

Our experiences of day and night are highly influenced by the rotation pattern of the Earth. However, if the Earth stopped spinning, it would be an inhospitable place, as half of the people on the planet would only have bright Sun, while the rest would be left in the dark and cold.

Throughout the daytime, when the southernmost point of the Earth (called The South Pole) faces the Sun, it is the daytime. The surface is filled with bright light due to the Sun's rays and by the heat of the Sun.

In the summer months after the summer solstice, the Sun starts setting on the western horizon, and during the winter months after winter solstice at The North Pole, there will be no sunlight seen, especially from the month of October until the month of March.

The day and night cycle depends on the rotation of the Earth.

If the Earth did not rotate, then it would be impossible for day and night to take place. Usually, the Sun moves toward the east in the morning and towards the south during the noontime.

It sets in the west when the day ends. The world's longest day occurs in June in the Northern Hemisphere, and in the Southern Hemisphere, the shortest day is also the June solstice.

Earth rotates from west to east, and that is why the sunrise happens on the eastern horizon.

For more similar content, you can read about what causes snow and what astronomers do.

What are day and night?

Day and night are two phases of a system that happen when the Earth rotates. There is a major difference between day and nighttime. The day occurs when the Sun rises from the east and when the Earth rotates around the Sun.

The Sun's rays hit Earth at the same time. This happens because the Earth rotates around the Sun. When one side of the Earth faces the Sun, it experiences day, and when the Earth spins away from the Sun, the same side experiences nighttime.

When the Sun is above our head, providing us with scorching heat during the daytime, then sometimes that daylight makes us feel irritated.

When the Earth is away from the Sun and the positions of the Earth change, the Earth rotates, and darkness occurs. At this time, the Sun rises in the east and sets toward the west; then the nighttime is formed.

There is a major line passing through the North and South Poles when the Earth rotates on its axis, but it is considered to be an imaginary line.

What causes day on Earth?

The movement and rotation of the Earth, which continues for the whole year, is called Earth's rotation, and this is the main cause of day and daytime. Darkness disappears when the Sun rises during the morning time.

When the Earth moves around the North and South Pole, the Sun will heat the part of the Earth in bright daylight. This only happens during the spinning of Earth around the Poles.

The Earth is in the shape of a ball or a sphere, and it rotates on an axis. This process of the Earth spinning around the Sun with the other planets is called Earth's rotation.

This method helps in causing day and night, which can only happen when the Earth faces the Sun. At nighttime, the sky looks black, which means the part of the Earth that you are standing on is in the opposite direction of the Sun.

The Northern Hemisphere or the Equator experiences a very short period of daytime and long nights. In London, people experience the effects of the different positions and variations resulting from the Earth's axis.

Accordingly, the longest day there is about 16 hours and 39 minutes, whereas the shortest day is just about seven hours and 45 minutes. The same thing happens in the Southern Hemisphere.

Rising of the full moon in a mountain valley with stars.

What country is always dark?

There are some countries where sunrise does not happen the same way as it does in other countries. In some cases, night happens for a longer time. When the Earth faces the Sun for a longer time and does not move, then it is daytime, and if the region faces darkness, then it becomes nighttime.

When the Earth is facing the Sun's direction, it is daytime in that particular space. In Norway, they experience a summer season of daylight for six months of the year continuously, and for the rest of the six months, it is like a constant night.

What happens if the Earth stops rotating?

Earth's shape looks like a ball or sphere. There is a mere imaginary line around the Earth, called the equator. The Earth revolves around the Sun. There are two different hemispheres, known as the Northern and Southern Hemisphere, where the shortest and longest days of the world take place at opposite times.

When the Earth rotates around the Sun, sunrise occurs in the sky. Earth's axial tilt is the main reason why day and night are different lengths in different parts of the world.

If the Earth stopped rotating, there would be no movement in the Earth's axial tilt, and neither day nor night would occur.

If Earth's rotation completely stopped, there would be no daylight on one side of the world. Earth is tilted, and if the tilt moved, then Earth's proper rotation would not happen, and there would be nothing to cause day and night on our planet.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked reading about what causes day and night on Earth, then why not take a look at our articles about how long hamsters live or how fish reproduce?

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Written by Christian Mba

Bachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba picture

Christian MbaBachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba is an experienced blogger and content writer with over a decade of experience. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Nigeria and has a keen interest in Python programming. Along with his writing and blogging expertise, he is also an SEO specialist with more than six years of experience. Chris, as he is commonly known, has a passion for music and enjoys playing the piano.

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