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Seasons and Ecliptic Simulator

The Nebraska Astronomy Applet Project, University of Nebraska

An interactive simulation of Earth's seasonal dynamics that includes the axial tilt and other aspects of Earth's annual cycle.

This is part of a larger lab from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln: http://astro.unl.edu/naap/motion1/motion1.html

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Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Axial tilt of Earth governs incoming sunlight and seasonality
About Teaching Principle 1
Other materials addressing 1c
Sunlight warms the planet
About Teaching Principle 1
Other materials addressing 1a
Sun is primary energy
About Teaching Climate Literacy
Other materials addressing Sun is primary energy

Benchmarks for Science Literacy
Learn more about the Benchmarks

Because the earth turns daily on an axis that is tilted relative to the plane of the earth's yearly orbit around the sun, sunlight falls more intensely on different parts of the earth during the year. The difference in intensity of sunlight and the resulting warming of the earth's surface produces the seasonal variations in temperature.
Explore the map of concepts related to this benchmark
Light and other electromagnetic waves can warm objects. How much an object's temperature increases depends on how intense the light striking its surface is, how long the light shines on the object, and how much of the light is absorbed.
Explore the map of concepts related to this benchmark

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • If you need more information, see Student Guide dealing with the simulator and two activities that use it–Rotating Sky and Motions of the Sun–at http://astro.unl.edu/naap/motion1/motion1.html.
  • Make sure to note the lack of scale to students.

About the Science

  • This simulation is part of a larger lab that covers terrestrial coordinates and the celestial equatorial coordinate system, allowing users to explore the motion of the sun and how it relates to seasons.

About the Pedagogy

  • The simulator and short investigations that are part of the lab may help users appreciate the complex dynamics of Earth's orbit as an important aspect of understanding Earth's climate.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Easy-to-use, intuitive simulation that, with minimal guidance, can complement other activities around seasonal dynamics.

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