Not many people are awake at am, but lots of people are awake after pm. We set our clocks forward one hour in the spring so that the sun rises at am and sets at pm and we set them back one hour in the winter. This is called summer time.
Find out where it is daytime and where it is nighttime right now. Try lots of different seasons games. Play a day and night simulation game. Start your trial for FREE today! Access thousands of brilliant resources to help your child be the best they can be.
What are day and night?
Day and Night World Map
It takes 24 hours for the Earth to turn all the way around rotation. That makes one day and one night. At any moment, half of the world is in daytime and half is in nighttime. The world is like a ball. We call the top half the Northern hemisphere and the bottom half the Southern hemisphere.
The imaginary line between them is called the equator. In summer the days are longer than they are in winter.
Day/Night Cycles and Street Lights
In London, the longest day is about 16 hours and 39 minutes and the shortest is 7 hours and 45 minutes. In the Southern hemisphere the seasons are the other way around. When it is summer in Europe, it is winter in Australia. Imagine celebrating Christmas on a long, hot summer day! To help us understand where we are in the world, we also split the world into right and left halves called the Eastern hemisphere and the Western hemisphere.
The world is split into time zones. Continental Europe is in the time zone to the east of Britain, so time is one hour ahead there; when it is 1pm in Britain it is 2pm in France. On the opposite side of the world from London is the International Date Line. On one side of the line time is 12 hours behind Britain, and on the other side time is 12 hours ahead of Britain. That means that it is a different day on each side of the line. The Earth is always spinning around — sometimes from where you stand on the Earth you can see the Sun this is the daytime and sometimes the part of the Earth where you are is facing away from the Sun so it is dark this is the nighttime.
It takes 24 hours for the Earth to spin all the way around, and we call this a day. Find out more about the sun and the Earth. The sun rises from behind the Earth in the East and sinks below the Earth in the West.
The time when it appears is called sunrise, and the time when it disappears is called sunset. The length of time between sunrise and sunset is called daytime. The Earth is also split into Northern and Southern hemispheres, which are divided by an imaginary line called the equator. The North and South poles are as far from the equator as you can get.
Britain is in the Northern hemisphere and is slightly closer to the North Pole than it is to the equator. When the days are shorter, there is less time for us to get heat from the sun, so the weather is colder. This is why we get winter. When the days are long, there is more time for us to get heat from the sun so we get hot summer days.
Because the equator is halfway between the North and South poles, the days there are always 12 hours of daytime and 12 hours of nighttime. There is very little difference between the seasons. In the Southern hemisphere the seasons are at opposite times to the Northern hemisphere. When it is summer here it is winter there, and when it is winter here it is summer there. The shortest day of the year is called the winter solstice and the longest day of the year is called the summer solstice. There are two days each year where every place on Earth has 12 hours of daytime and 12 hours of nighttime.
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