Student Features

A Special Day for the Sun and the Earth
Dishes at the Nobeyama Solar Observatory in Japan working together to create radio images of the sun
Quick: name two things we all need to survive. Did you answer the sun and the Earth? Probably not, but we couldn't live without them. The Earth is our home. The sun provides our warmth and energy -- plus so much more. Because the sun and the Earth are so important to everyone, NASA has sponsored Sun-Earth Day for the past six years. It's a chance for people to learn more about the connection between the sun and the Earth. And now that you know about Sun-Earth Day, you can do something to mark the event!

Image to left: The 82 dishes at the Nobeyama Solar Observatory in Japan work together to create radio images of the sun. Credit: NASA

Sun-Earth Day is March 21, 2005. This is the first day of spring. This day is also known as the spring equinox. Equinox means "equal night." During the equinox, the sun is positioned above the equator. This makes day and night about equal in length all over the world during the spring and fall equinoxes.

The equinox may be a new idea for you, but people have been keeping track of them for hundreds of years. Almost every culture has taken notice of how the sun and Earth work together to create seasons. Do you find this hard to believe? Take a look at the timeline at It will show you that people have been aware of this special connection for over 5,000 years!

NASA wants you to learn more about the important links between the sun and the Earth. To find out how NASA is going to celebrate Sun-Earth Day, visit the Sun-Earth Web site:

Image of the sun's interior and a sun quilt
Image to right: The Lakota Indians created sun quilts for many ceremonies. The quilt shown here looks a lot like the image of the sun's interior that is shown above it. Credit: NASA

This year, the theme for Sun-Earth Day is Ancient Observatories. It's a good time to learn about the many ways people have studied the sun throughout history. Native Americans on our continent have devoted much of their history and culture to studying the sun. To learn more about their studies of the sun, visit The Lakota nation uses the sun in their lives and has many traditions that show this. Go to this Web site to learn more:

Keep an eye on the NASA Sun-Earth Day Web site. As the year goes on, NASA will add webcasts and other special events that highlight the special connection between the sun and the Earth.

NASA Sun-Earth Day
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Adapted from Sun-Earth Day Web site