During the day, we perceive the Earth’s spin as the Sun’s apparent movement across the sky. The Sun starts from a low arrival angle on the eastern horizon (sunrise), moves to its highest position overhead (midday) and then moves to a low departing angle on our western horizon (sunset).
Children have difficulty grasping the idea that, although the Sun appears to move across the sky from horizon to horizon, it does not actually move. As the Earth’s spin slowly turns us towards the light of the Sun and then away again, it is the viewer’s position that is moving, not the Sun.
- Light and shadows
- Alternative conceptions about light and shadows
- Navigating with Sun, Moon and planets
IMAGE: Annette Teng, CC BY 3.0