How does the gravitational pull of the moon and the sun cause ocean tides?

High tides and low tides are caused by the moon. The moon’s gravitational pull generates something called the tidal force. The tidal force causes Earth—and its water—to bulge out on the side closest to the moon and the side farthest from the moon. These bulges of water are high tides.

As the Earth rotates, your region of Earth passes through both of these bulges each day. When you’re in one of the bulges, you experience a high tide. When you’re not in one of the bulges, you experience a low tide. This cycle of two high tides and two low tides occurs most days on most of the coastlines of the world.

Tides are really all about gravity, and when we’re talking about the daily tides, it’s the moon’s gravity that’s causing them.

As Earth rotates, the moon’s gravity pulls on different parts of our planet. Even though the moon only has about 1/100th the mass of Earth, since it’s so close to us, it has enough gravity to move things around. The moon’s gravity even pulls on the land, but not enough for anyone to tell (unless they use special, really precise instruments).

When the moon’s gravity pulls on the water in the oceans, however, someone’s bound to notice. Water has a much easier time moving around, and the water wants to bulge in the direction of the moon. This is called the tidal force.

Because of the tidal force, the water on the side of the moon always wants to bulge out toward the moon. This bulge is what we call a high tide. As your part of the Earth rotates into this bulge of water, you might experience a high tide.

One thing to note, however, is that this is just an explanation of the tidal force—not the actual tides. In real life, the Earth isn’t a global ocean, covered in an even layer of water. There are seven continents, and that land gets in the way. The continents prevent the water from perfectly following the moon’s pull. That’s why in some places, the difference between high and low tide isn’t very big, and in other places, the difference is drastic.

Credit : SciJinks 

Picture Credit : Google

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