Tides are the cyclic rising and falling of Earth's ocean surface caused by the tidal forces of the Moon and the Sun acting on the Earth.
Tides cause changes in the depth of the sea, and also produce oscillating currents known as tidal streams, making prediction of tides important for coastal navigation.
The strip of seashore that is submerged at high tide and exposed at low tide, the intertidal zone, is an important ecological product of ocean tides. The changing tide produced at a given location on the Earth is the result of the changing positions of the Moon and Sun relative to the Earth coupled with the effects of the rotation of the Earth and the local bathymetry (the underwater equivalent to topography or terrain).
Though the gravitational force exerted by the Sun on the Earth is almost 200 times stronger than that exerted by the Moon, the tidal force produced by the Moon is about twice as strong as that produced by the Sun.
The reason for this is that the tidal force is related not to the strength of a gravitational field, but to its gradient.
The field gradient decreases with distance from the source more rapidly than does the field strength; as the Sun is about 400 times further from the Earth than is the Moon, the gradient of the Sun's field, and thus the tidal force produced by the Sun, is weaker.
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