Does the Earth revolve around the sun?

Does the Earth revolve around the sun?
MGN Online
Weather Talk
Saturday, February 22, 2014 - 5:28pm

A question nearly 25% of Americans can't answer

1 in 4 people don't know whether earth revolves around the sun or vice versa.

Yes, you read right. Apparently this isn't common knowledge for some Americans.

According to Time Magazine, the National Science Foundation conducted a survey that featured a nine question quiz on physical and biological science.

I'd like to think one of two things could have happened.

1.) 25 percent of the people surveyed either missed school on the day they learned this particular subject in class

2.) Americans were confused by the question.

According to National Public Radio, the question read like this: Does the Earth go around the Sun, or does the Sun go around the Earth.

At least American's answered that question a little better than our European friends.

According to NPR, only 66 percent of people in a 2005 European Union poll answered the basic astronomy answer correctly.

So in today's weather blog I have decided to go over some interesting facts showing that the Earth truly does revolve around the sun, for those who still have some doubts.

1.) Earth has four seasons: There are two points in Earth's Orbit that are the longest and shortest time of daylight, otherwise known as the winter and summer solstice, one happens in December and the other in June respectively.

-The average distance from Earth to the sun is about 93 million miles

- The Earth is closest to the sun during the month of January, which is called the perihelion, and is furthest away from the sun during the aphelion which takes place in July.

-And because the earth revolves around the sun there is one half that is lit it's called the circle of illumination, and the boundary line of the half that is unit is called the terminator.

2.) Sun Rise direction: Most people think that, in the northern hemisphere, the sun sets the earliest on the December solstice and sets the latest on the June solstice.

This is not actually true. The solstices are simply the dates in which, the daylight length is the longest or the shortest.

Fact: Sunrise/sunset times do not change direction immediately at the solstices.

However, the change in the time of true noon(or the highest point of the sun in the sky) pulls the sunrise and sunset times with it.

At the December solstice, true noon is getting later at a rate of 30 seconds per day.

3.) Here's an interesting one for those non-believers. The earth is reallty flat! (Kinda)

It just so happens that the Earth is almost spherical but it is slightly flattened at the poles.

Geologists have had to come up with different versions of latitude.

Geocentric latitude measures the viewers latitude as an angle with respect to the equator and the center of the Earth.

Geographic latitude is the standard for plotting maps and identifying coordinates.

4.) Seasonal Lag:

You may notice that the solstices and equinoxes mark the beginning of their respective seasons, rather than the middle.

This is because the Earth takes time to warm up or cool down.

This effect is called seasonal lag and varies depending on the observer’s geographical location.

The farther one travels to either pole, the smaller the lag tends to be. For example, in many North American cities, the lag tends to be about a month, bringing the coldest weather around the 21st of January and the warmest weather around the 21st of July.

At the end of August, you may still be taking advantage of the last of the summer weather, dressing in your flip flops, those cute bikini and spedo's (whatever you're into) and making one last trip to the beach.

However, the date, on the other side of the summer solstice which brings the same daylight length would be approximately the tenth of April. Most people wouldn’t even be anticipating summer then.

And there you go, a quick lesson of what you may have missed back in the 3rd grade when your teacher was showing why the earth revolves around the sun and not the other way around.

I still can't believe it myself.

And in case you were wondering what some of the other questions missed on that survey were, here they are.

True or False: "The universe began with a huge explosion"- just 39 percent answered correctly (true)

True or False: "Human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals."- and only 48 percent answered true.

Ture or False: "Antibiotics are not effective against viruses."- more than half understood this was true.

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