The equatorial plane The equator gets the most direct and concentrated sunlight. When a result, as you move north or south of the equator, the quantity of direct sunshine diminishes. At the poles, where there is no direct sunlight, only diffuse daylight arrives through clouds or in polar regions during winter.
These are the two main components of solar radiation: direct light and heat from the sun; and diffused light and heat from the atmosphere. Direct light and heat can be intense but is limited in time. Diffuse light and heat is more constant but also more powerful when measured over an area.
At the center of the earth is a very hot place called the core. All the nuclear reactions that occur inside the core produce energy that keeps the core hot. This is why objects such as diamonds are formed deep within the earth where it is cold and dark. As they decay over time, these objects sink to the bottom of their container where the temperature is low enough for them to remain solid.
On top of the core is another layer of the earth called the mantle. It is hotter than the core but not as hot as the surface of the sun! The mantle extends outward from the core to the crust, which covers the entire planet.
The equatorial plane The equator receives the most direct sunshine all year. Because the angle of sunlight striking the equator is greater than that at the poles, the poles receive less direct sunlight. But because the angle of incidence decreases with distance from the center, high mountains and hills always experience more direct sunlight than low plains or deserts.
But this doesn't mean that the entire equatorial region is sunny all day long. If you look at an equirectangular map of the earth, you'll see that there are actually two regions of equal size that get half as much direct sunlight- one at the north and south poles and the other at the middle of the equator. These regions are called the Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere, respectively.
During winter, the amount of direct sunlight at the poles is reduced even further because land and ice block out some of the solar radiation. In summer, the amount of direct sunlight at the equator is increased because sea surfaces reflect light away from the planet's surface.
So overall, the equatorial region receives the most direct sunlight year round. However, due to the tilt of the earth, only a small part of this region is exposed to sunlight at any given time.
Along the equator At the equator, the sun's rays touch the surface most directly. Different places also receive varying quantities of sunshine throughout the year. The amount of sunlight reaching the earth's surface varies by region and time of year.
The amount of sunlight that reaches the earth's surface is called its solar energy output. This energy drives all life on Earth, from the smallest bacteria up to elephants. It also leads to some interesting physical effects, such as deserts forming in the subtropics and tropics, and ice caps forming at both the poles.
Solar energy is abundant and free. It is always there, waiting for the right conditions to use it. All we need to do is find ways to convert this energy into useful forms such as heat or electricity.
Solar power has been used for centuries for example by collecting energy during the day and storing it for use at night. Modern technologies have improved on this idea using batteries or fuel cells. These methods have their limitations though; they are either not completely reliable or expensive to produce. Solar panels on the other hand are relatively inexpensive to manufacture and able to generate power even when the sun isn't shining straight down on them.
As a result, the portion of the Earth that receives the most direct Sun rays varies as the Earth rotates around the Sun. The Sun's rays shine most directly on the equator at the equinox, and the Northern and Southern Hemispheres receive the same quantity of sunshine. But due to the rotation of the Earth, more of the planet is exposed at the poles than at the equator.
The amount of solar radiation that reaches the Earth's surface depends on many factors such as cloud cover, the angle at which the Sun is rising or setting, and the position of the Moon. But no matter what the conditions are like outside, the average distance between the Earth and the Sun is about 150 million km (93 million miles), so even at the far side of the Moon, where there is no atmosphere to block out light, only 8% of the sunlight reaching it gets through to reach the lunar soil. At the Earth-Sun Lagrange Point 1 located at 1.5 million km (1 million miles) from the Sun, sunlight strikes with almost exactly equal intensity all around the globe.
But due to the tilt of the Earth's axis, the northern half experiences winter and the southern half experiences summer. So even though at any given time both the north and south experience months of darkness due to clouds or other factors, over time more and more of one hemisphere will be in darkness while more and more of the other hemisphere is in daylight.