What is the cause of solar angle?


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Since the earth is a sphere not all areas of the earth are perpendicular to the sun's energy that is traveling through space and reaching the earth. An area of the earth that is closer to being perpendicular to the sun's energy (such as around the equator), will receive the sun's energy over a smaller area of land, and so the energy will be the most intense in that location, resulting in higher overall temperatures. In these areas the sun's energy also travels less distance through the atmosphere, so less energy gets reflected back into space and more reaches the surface.

Areas of the earth that are not perpendicular to the sun's energy will receive the energy at an angle less than 90 degrees. The sun's angle is lower in places farther from the equator toward each pole. The lower the sun's angle, the more area the sun's energy will be spread out across, thus less energy reaches any one location. Also, at the higher latitudes away from the equator the sun's energy must travel farther through the atmosphere before it reaches the surface, so more energy gets reflected back into space and doesn't reach the surface. This causes even less energy to reach any one location resulting in lower overall temperatures.

Depending on the time of the year, the different areas of the earth will have different solar angles as the earth rotates around the sun on its tilted axis.

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