Are there solar tides? (Beginner)

Do we feel solar tides in addition to lunar tides?

We do feel tides from the sun! The Earth has a small tidal bulge due to the sun, which causes solar ocean tides. However, because the moon is much closer to us than the sun, we feel the effects of lunar tides more strongly. Solar tides tend to have more of an effect when they line up in some way with lunar tides.

For example, when the sun, earth, and moon are aligned, the tidal pulls add up and we observe the largest daily range in tides (spring tides). When the sun, moon, and earth form a right angle, we observe the smallest daily range in tides (neap tides).

For more info on tides, look here:

This page was last updated on February 10, 2016

About the Author

Briony Horgan

Briony is an Assistant Professor at Purdue University, and uses orbital remote sensing of Mars and the Moon supported by laboratory and field work to investigate planetary surface processes. Her primary tool is spectroscopy, including both visible/near-infrared and mid-infrared. Briony earned her B.S. in Physics from Oregon State University in 2005 and her Ph.D. in Astronomy and Space Sciences from Cornell University in 2010. Her thesis advisor was Prof. Jim Bell (now at ASU). Her thesis was titled "Wind, water, and the sands of Mars", and focused on using spectral and morphologic characteristics of sediments in the northern lowlands of Mars to reveal past and ongoing interactions with liquid water. After her PhD, Briony became an Exploration Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University, working primarily in the Mars Space Flight Facility with Phil Christensen. There she investigated the composition, spectral properties, and terrestrial field analogs of soils and sediments on Mars. The results of these studies will aid in constraining the habitability of ancient surface environments on Mars, and may have implications for our understanding of the early Earth. 


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