In the last Explore exercise, you saw that the Sun’s rays hit the cylinder at an angle of zero degrees – straight up and down. This means that on September 22nd, the Sun’s rays hit the equator at an angle of zero degrees, going straight up and down. But what happens on some other days of the year?
The table below shows the approximate position of the Earth, from the Sun’s perspective, on several days.
The Earth is not a plus sign; it’s a sphere. Even though the Earth is very small compared to the Sun, the fact that it is a sphere still has an important meaning for our lives on Earth.
A sphere like the Earth can be divided into two hemispheres. On the Earth, North America, Europe, and Asia lie in the Northern Hemisphere, while Australia and most of Africa and South America lie in the Southern Hemisphere.
Imagine that the plus signs you drew on the map are actually tiny spheres that represent the Earth. The Equator is the line in the middle. The North Pole is the line that points up, and the South Pole is the line that points down.