Sunday, July 29, 2007

How the tides work

So basically I was having trouble figuring out exactly how the Moon affected the tides, and found a website that helps. This picture will help a lot, if you can figure it out.
TideAni

* The gravitational force of the moon is one ten-millionth that of earth, but when you combine other forces such as the earth's centrifugal force created by its spin, you get tides.

* The sun's gravitational force on the earth is only 46 percent that of the moon. Making the moon the single most important factor for the creation of tides.

* The sun's gravity also produces tides. But since the forces are smaller, as compared to the moon, the effects are greatly decreased.

* Tides are not caused by the direct pull of the moon's gravity. The moon is pulling upwards on the water while the earth is pulling downward. Slight advantage to the moon and thus we have tides.

* Whenever the Moon, Earth and Sun are aligned, the gravitational pull of the sun adds to that of the moon causing maximum tides.

* Spring tides happen when the sun and moon are on the same side of the earth (New Moon) or when the sun and moon are on opposite sides of the earth (Full Moon).

* When the Moon is at first quarter or last quarter phase (meaning that it is located at right angles to the Earth-Sun line), the Sun and Moon interfere with each other in producing tidal bulges and tides are generally weaker; these are called neap tides.

* Spring tides and neap tide levels are about 20% higher or lower than average.

* Offshore, in the deep ocean, the difference in tides is usually less than 1.6 feet

* The surf grows when it approaches a beach, and the tide increases. In bays and estuaries, this effect is amplified. (In the Bay of Fundy, tides have a range of 44.6 ft.)

* The highest tides in the world are at the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia, Canada.

* Because the earth rotates on its axis the moon completes one orbit in our sky every 25 hours (Not to be confused with moon's 27 day orbit around the earth), we get two tidal peaks as well as two tidal troughs. These events are separated by about 12 hours.

* Since the moon moves around the Earth, it is not always in the same place at the same time each day. So, each day, the times for high and low tides change by 50 minutes.

* The type of gravitational force that causes tides is know as "Tractive" force.

http://home.hiwaay.net/~krcool/Astro/moon/moontides/

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