Day vs. Night: Earth & Space Science for Kids

Instructor: Dominic Corsini
Have you ever wondered why part of the world has daytime while the other part has nighttime? This lesson will answer that question by exploring the causes of day and night! Pictures and descriptions are all included.

What Causes Day and Night

What makes the sun rise in the morning and set at night? Have you ever wondered that? Well, this lesson is about what causes day and night. It explains why it gets dark at bedtime, and then brightens back up when morning comes. You may be surprised to learn that day and night is caused by the rotation of the Earth. Rotation is another word for spinning and Earth is the planet we live on. Image if you were spinning around in a circle. We could also say you were rotating in a circle. The words spinning and rotating mean basically the same thing. Now, let's take a closer look at how the Earth's rotation causes day and night.

The Earth's Position in Space

The sun comes up, and the sun goes down. We know this is caused by rotation. But how does that actually work? Well, part of the answer has to do with the Earth's position in space. The sun only lights up half the Earth at one time, and this half experiences daytime. The sun is our nearest star and the source of light for Earth. The half of Earth the sun doesn't light up is covered in darkness. This dark half is experiencing nighttime.

How the Sun Causes Day and Night
How the Sun Causes Day and Night

Can you guess where morning and evening occur? These occur along the edges of the light and dark half. So where light and dark meet, we have morning and evening.

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