Sun, moon and stars

Thursday, December 13th 2007, 11:01 am
By: News 9

It's a giant ball of hot gases in space, and it affects the weather here in Oklahoma. Heat and light from the sun play a dominant role in our weather. Obviously, we see the difference in temperatures between day and night, but there are other influences as well. The uneven heating of the earth from the sun pushes air around the atmosphere creating changes in air pressure. It is that change in air pressure that creates wind. The heat of the sun also causes moisture to rise, forming clouds; those clouds bring rain, snow and severe weather to Oklahoma.

The path the earth takes around the sun and the distance between the two heavenly bodies also cause our seasons. The tilt of the earth and its path around the sun cause the seasons. The earth is tilted 23.5 degrees; when it is tilted towards the sun in its orbit, the earth receives more of the sun's energy bringing warm summer temperatures. When the earth is tilted away from the sun during its orbit it receives less energy, creating winter.

Want to know when the sun and moon will rise and set today? Check out Sun and Moon Data.

For a calendar of a month's worth of sunrise and sunsets, visit the Sunrise Sunset Calendar.

The moon has a powerful allure.  It is full of beauty, legend, myth and romance, but its affect on the weather is a bit harder to determine than the sun's. The moon affects ocean tides which can alter ocean currents that can affect weather.

The moon is also a large factor in the day-to-day lives of people as well as wildlife. Some of the lunar influences are obvious while some are not. The most obvious and measurable affects of the moon on the earth are seen with tides.

The gravitational force of the moon is one of the primary influences in the rise and fall of tides. When the moon is closest to the earth, or at perigee, lunar influences are magnified.

The gravitational influence of the moon depends on its position, distance from earth and the angle it is above the earth. Anyone with an interest in the moon or the phases of the moon, for whatever reason, should find some valuable information here:

Outer Space

Looking for information about outer space? Check out these links to get the latest weather conditions around the universe and learn more.

Lund Space Weather Center

Michigan Tech: Auroras

National Academy of Sciences: Space Weather Links

NASA Spacelink Hot Topics

NOAA Space Weather Now

NOAA Today's Space Weather