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Our Glaciers: Then and Now activity kit helps you see the changes taking place in glaciers around the world. See all our activity kits and classroom activities.
This animation demonstrates very simply how different elements at different heights, let off energy that we see as different colors.
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Axis Tilt

When we talk about the movement of a planet, we talk about its rotation (spinning around its internal axis) and revolution (revolving around the Sun). Axis tilt occurs when a planet rotates around an axis that is tilted relative to the plane of its revolution around a larger object. Put simply, that means that as the planet revolves around the Sun, it is tilted.

The Earth is tilted by 23.5 degrees, which means that sometimes the northern hemisphere is tilted toward the Sun and sometimes it is tilted away from the Sun. This tilt of a planet is what gives us seasons.

Not all the planets have the same amount of tilt. Jupiter, for instance, has almost no tilt (3 degrees), while Venus has almost 180 degrees of tilt, which means that itís spinning upside-down (at least relative to our definition of up). Uranus has a tilt of almost 90 degrees, which means that this planet is spinning on its side!

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Cool It! Game

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Climate Change

Climate change refers to changes in global or regional climate determined over a long term - typically a minimum of 30 years. A short-term weather event such as an intense storm or heat wave are a normal...more

AU

AU stands for Astronomical Units. It is a useful way to measure the distances in interplanetary space. It is the distance between the Earth and the Sun, which is about 93 million miles. For reference,...more

The Spiral of the IMF

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For a planet to be affected by a blob of material being ejected by the sun, the planet must be in the path of the blob, as shown in this picture. The Earth and its magnetosphere are shown in the bottom...more

The SAR Arc

The aurora we are most familiar with is the polar aurora. This is what people are talking about when they say the northern or southern lights. But there are other less-known aurora, such as SAR arcs....more

The Effect of Aurora on the Atmosphere

This figure shows the effect of the aurora on the atmosphere. When FAC's enter the atmosphere and create the aurora, they heat the atmosphere suddenly and abruptly. This creates an impulse which travels...more

The forming Aurora

This picture shows the flowing of particles into and out of the auroral zone, as Field-Aligned currents (FAC's) take at short-cut through the atmosphere. Some of the particles entering the auroral zone...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF