The Moon and Tides
Tides are the periodic swelling, or rising, and falling of bodies of water on the Earth’s surface.

The Moon and Tides

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Because of its proximity to the Earth, a gravitational pull occurs between the Earth and the Moon. The Earth’s seasons do not affect the Moon’s gravitational pull.

What are tides? Tides are the periodic swelling, or rising, and falling of bodies of water on the Earth’s surface. Climate factors can affect the tides, as well as earthquakes. However, besides climate, the gravitational attraction that exists between the Earth and the Moon also greatly affect the rise and fall of water levels. As the Earth is rotating while the Moon orbits it, there are two high tides and two low tides each day.

TYPES OF TIDES

Spring Tides: The strongest gravitational forces occur when the Moon and the Sun are aligned. The gravitational pull causes the water levels to be either extremely high or extremely low. When the water levels are extremely high or extremely low, they are known as Spring Tides. Spring Tides occur during the New Moon and the Full Moon.

Neap Tides: When the Moon and the Sun are not aligned, the gravitational pull is much weaker. This causes the level of the high and low tides to be far less severe in nature. These types of tides are then known as Neap Tides. Neap Tides occur during the 1st Quarter Moon and the 3rd Quarter Moon.

Proxigean Spring Tides: This type of tide is rare and occurs only once every one and a half years. The tide’s high level is extremely high and occurs when the Moon is closest to the Earth and in the New Moon phase.

Sun Tides: The Moon is not the only heavenly body that affects the Earth’s tides. The Sun also affects the tide although its gravitational pull has a lesser effect. In fact, the Sun’s gravitational pull has more of an effect upon the Moon which, in turn affects the Earth. If the Moon were to be destroyed, the Earth’s bodies of water would still experience tides but at much lower levels as the Sun’s gravitation is weaker.

The Moon rotates around the Earth at 12° a day which is equal to one rotation a month. Because of this rotation, it actually takes 24 hours and 50 minutes for the Moon to return to its beginning point in relation to the Earth. The tidal cycle, therefore, runs every 24 hours and 50 minutes.

1.
Besides the Moon, what other things can affect the Earth’s tides?
Drilling and fishing
Population and industry
Climate and earthquakes
Swimmers and water skiing
Climate changes and underwater earthquakes (causing tsunamis) can affect the Earth’s tides. Answer (c) is correct
2.
The tidal cycle runs every ________.
12 hours
12 hours and 25 minutes
24 hours
24 hours and 50 minutes
Because of the Moon’s rotation around the Earth, the tidal cycle runs every 24 hours and 50 minutes. Answer (d) is correct
3.
When do the strongest gravitational forces occur?
When the Earth and the Moon are aligned
When the Moon and the Sun are not aligned
When the Earth and the Sun are aligned
When the Moon and the Sun are aligned
The strongest gravitational forces occur when the Moon and the Sun are aligned. Answer (d) is correct
4.
How many high tides are there each day?
4
1
2
3
As the Earth is rotating while the Moon orbits it, there are two high tides each day. Answer (c) is correct
5.
The gravitational pull of this type of tide causes the Earth’s water levels to be either extremely high or extremely low.
Spring Tide
Neap Tide
Proxigean Tide
Sun Tide
The Moon’s gravitational pull that causes the water levels to be either extremely high or extremely low is known as Spring Tide. Answer (a) is correct
6.
This rare type of tide is extremely high and occurs when the Moon is closest to the Earth.
Spring Tide
Proxigean Tide
Sun Tide
Neap Tide
The type of tide that is rare and occurs only once every one and a half years is known as a Proxigean Tide. The Proxigean Tide is reflected by extremely high tides and occurs when the Moon is closest to the Earth during the New Moon phase. Answer (b) is correct
7.
How does the Moon affect the Earth’s tides?
Its gravitational pull
Its orbital rotation around the Earth
Its passing between the Earth and the Sun
Its proximity to the Earth during the different seasons
The Earth’s seasons do not affect the Moon’s gravitational pull so Answer (d) is not correct. However, the Moon’s gravitational pull, along with the Sun’s, does affect the Earth’s tides. Therefore, Answer (a) is correct
8.
The Moon rotates around the Earth at __°.
173
12
27.3
29.5
The Moon rotates around the Earth at 12° a day which is equal to one rotation a month. Answer (b) is correct
9.
Besides the Moon, what other heavenly object affects the Earth’s tides?
Haley's Comet
Atmosphere
Venus
Sun
The Sun affects the tide although its gravitational pull has a lesser effect than does the Moon’s gravitational pull. Answer (d) is correct
10.
This type of tide occurs during the 1st Quarter Moon and the 3rd Quarter Moon.
Sun Tide
Spring Tide
Neap Tide
Proxigean Tide
The Neap Tide occurs during the 1st Quarter Moon and the 3rd Quarter Moon. Answer (c) is correct
Author:  Christine G. Broome

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