How Tides Work

When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn. -Harriet Beecher Stowe

Last week, our longtime reader Pamela asked if I could explain how the tides work. As you all know, when the tide comes in at the ocean, the water level appears to rise (and can do so significantly), while at low tide, the water level appears to drop.

This goes in a cycle twice per day, with the ocean level reaching its highest point twice daily (high tide), having the water recede over a period of six hours until it reaches its lowest level (low tide), and then having the water level rise again over a period of another six hours until it reaches the next high tide. Variations in the height of the water level are typically on the order of three meters (maybe ten feet) each day, depending on a couple of factors, which I'll go into below.

The reason we have any tides at all are twofold: the Earth is pretty big and gravity cares how far away you are. The farther away you are from something, the weaker gravity's pull is on you. If you were to take a look at our Solar System, and you were to move the Earth out to where Pluto is, you'd find that the force of gravity from the Sun on the Earth would be an astounding 1,600 times weaker than it is today, as Pluto is 40 times as far away as Earth is from the Sun!

If you were to look at everything in our Solar System and ask what affects the Earth the most, gravitationally, you'd think to look at two things: the Moon, because it's massive and it's very, very close to us, and the Sun, because it's extremely massive, even though it's quite far away. Let's start by considering the Moon.

The Earth is quite far from the Moon, at an average distance of 384,400 km. When we speak about this distance, however, we are talking about the distance from the center of the Earth to the center of the Moon. But one edge of the Earth will always be closer to the Moon by 6,370 km (the radius of the Earth), and the opposite edge will always be farther from the Moon by the same amount. This means -- after a little math -- that the force of gravity of the Moon on the far side of the Earth is about 3.2% weaker at the far edge of the Earth than it is at the center of the Earth, and about 3.4% stronger at the edge of Earth nearest the Moon than it is at the center. This difference in forces between the near edge, the center, and the far edge defines what we call tidal forces.

This means the effect of the Moon's gravity on Earth is to try to flatten it a little bit at the poles and wherever Moonset/Moonrise is occurring, and to stretch it at its nearest point (when the Moon is directly overhead) and its farthest point (exactly 12 hours from the Moon's apex). This force is weak enough that it wouldn't be a big deal at all if the Earth were simply a solid ball; the tidal forces from the Moon are unable to stretch rocks and dirt by more than a few millimeters. But the Earth is covered in water, which changes its shape extremely easily!

Image credit: Steve Gaunt.

So while the solid ground of the Earth remains in its roughly spherical shape, the oceans bulge by just a few meters in two spots around the equator: at the point closest to the Moon and at the point farthest from the Moon. As the solid ground rotates, each point on the Earth passes through the side closest to the Moon and the side farthest from the Moon once per day: these are your two high tides.

The two times that correspond to Moonrise and Moonset are your two low tides per day. And the closer to the equator you are, the more severe your tides are, while the closer to the poles you are, the less drastic your tides are!

But the Moon isn't the only gravitational body in our Solar System affecting the tides on Earth. While none of the other planets, moons, asteroids or comets in the Solar System matter, the Sun does!

The tidal forces from the Sun are weaker than those from the Moon, but are still quite strong, causing tides that are about 30% as strong as the Moon's. When the Sun and the Moon are lined up, during a New Moon and during a Full Moon, you get the highest high tides and the lowest low tides, known as Spring Tides.

But when the Sun and Moon are at right angles to each other (during the Moon's first and last quarter, or when it appears half-full), you get the lowest high tides and the highest low tides, known as Neap Tides.

In fact, if you're meticulous, you can measure the water level over a long period of time, and can see not only the high tides and the low tides, but also where the Spring Tides and Neap Tides occur. Take a look at this data from Bridgeport, Connecticut.

And that's how tides work! I freely admit that there are small, subtle details that come into play if you want to predict the times and heights of the tides extremely accurately. But just by considering the gravity of the Sun, Earth and Moon, and by calculating the force on the oceans, you can do an incredible job of predicting all of the above about the tides. Thanks to Pamela for a riveting question, and I hope you all enjoyed the answer!

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I never know that Sun on the Earth would be an astounding 1,600 times weaker than it is today, as Pluto is 40 times as far away as Earth is from the Sun.

And sometimes you're just wrong (PS please don't try to disguise linkspam as a whinging diatribe. It's dishonest).

THANK YOU, Ethan. The explanation and the graphics explain it so well!! Wonderful!

The tides in St Vincent's Gulf in South Australia are interesting. At the suburban beaches of Adelaide, the tides occur at roughly the same time each day, regardless of the phase of the moon. The reason is that the resonant frequency of the Gulf is close to one day, so solar tides are amplified and are slightly higher amplitude than the lunar tides. But they are so close in amplitude that every fortnight they practically cancel each other out and the resulting almost complete absence of tide is called locally the dodge tides.

By Keith Harwood (not verified) on 24 Feb 2010 #permalink

I am having trouble understanding why there would be a bulge on the opposite side to the moon (at point C in the 6th picture). Can anyone please explain that to me?

Your explanation makes it seem like the moon is literally pulling the water away from the Earth and hence the bulge. As I understand it, this is wrong (especially as the Sun has a stronger gravitational effect on the Earth than the Moon does). This might make sense to a layperson (myself being a layperson) but then why don't we get one bulge on the side closest to the moon?

I was under the impression that it had more to do with how the horizontal gravity vector actually pushes the water horizontally to where the furtherest and closest points to the moon are? Thus the water bulges due to being pushed sideways along the Earth to where the both high tides are.

I think another important point here is that the Sun exerts a much stronger gravitational force on the Earth than the Moon does. But, "... tidal force depends not on the strength of the lunar gravitational field, but on its gradient (which falls off approximately as the inverse cube of the distance to the originating gravitational body)"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tide#Forces

The thing is that there is no simple explanation for tides! They are very complex mathematically and thus very hard to grasp - or that is at least what I think.

My head hurts :)

@Linsey: let me give it a try...

Instead of the Earth and oceans, let's pretend we are dealing with three equal weights attached to a long rope (200km long), one in the middle of the rope and one on each end, stretched radially away from the moon.

The gravitational force experienced by the weights falls off as 1/R^2, so if the middle weight experiences a gravitational force A/R^2, the outer weight experiences a force of A/(R+100km)^2, which is less than the middle weight, and the inner weight experiences a force of A/(R-100km)^2, which is greater than the middle weight. Because all three must fall at the same rate (they are tied to each other, after all) the rope must be under tension.

If this rope contraption is in orbit around the moon such that the middle weight is in free-fall, and we adjust our point of view to be on the middle weight, then both the outer and inner weights will give the appearance of pulling away in opposite directions.

Looking at image 6, the three vectors are C = ->, B = -->, and A = --->. If you were to use a frame of reference which made the center of the Earth in free-fall, that would be the equivalent of adding -B = <-- to all three vectors, so you'd get C' = <-, B' = ., and A' = ->. Effectively, the water would be pulled radially outward by C', radially inward by A', and not at all by B'.

If, instead of a rope, you had a large ring, and you measured the pull of the moon's gravity (relative to the center of the ring) on various parts of the ring, you get a diagram like the 5th down. Every part of the ring experiences a tidal force which has a radial component away from the center of the ring, and tangentially towards the center of the ring. The tangential component comes from the fact that the moon's gravity is acting like it's coming from a point, so the forces on the ring are not parallel, but radiate from a point. This also contributes to the tidal flows.

By Blaise Pascal (not verified) on 24 Feb 2010 #permalink

Blaise Pascal, thanks so much for that! I can make sense of it now.

I love your tides explanation. Nuances aside, it's a great illustration. But, I am confused by your statement that synchronizes low tides to moonrise and moonset. Checking the times for my location, these don't correspond at all. Are there further details that would explain that, or am I misunderstanding?

@Tavi

There's always further details. For one thing the Earth doesn't spin freely under the oceans, but rather drags the oceans along with it. Water can't flow instantly either, so the end result is that instead of the tidal bulges being directly under the moon, they are slightly ahead of the moon by about 3 degrees, which means the tides arrive (in the deep ocean) about 12 minutes "fast".

For another, local coastal conditions have a major effect on the timing and size of tides. Keith Harwood described a situation where resonance affects the period of the tides, and the Bay of Fundy is famous for the shape of the bay greatly increasing the height of the tides.

By Blaise Pascal (not verified) on 24 Feb 2010 #permalink

I used to get confused by the second bulge (opposite the Moon-side), but I've learned the key to remember is imaging the centripetal force "flinging" the water to the outside. Just like if you were to grab someone's hands and spin around (merrily), you would expect both participant's long hair would get swung to the "outside" (assuming they had long hair).

Remember, the Earth pulls on the Moon, and the Moon pulls back on the Earth, just like two people swinging around one another. And just like a very small person getting swung around by a very large person, they rotate around their common center of mass (barycenter). Like in these animations.

That's really good stuff. I had an argument with someone once, about what caused tides. While I did not have nearly the breadth of information that you did, my answer was basically "the moon and gravity". There response was that gravity isn't strong enough and the moon isn't big enough to cause that much of a chance, and when I asked them what they thought caused tides, they replied: "magnetism".

By dogmatichaos (not verified) on 24 Feb 2010 #permalink

Blaise @10 and Tavi @9,

I read Tavi's comment this evening and was going to write a response, but before I got to it, Blaise's comment popped up.

Blaise, that is exactly what I would have hoped to have said. Your explanation, as far as I understand it, is dead on.

John,

I don't understand your objection. Are you complaining that the other figures don't explain why there is a bulge along the Earth-Moon line, but no bulge perpendicular to it? If so, that's not an inaccuracy so much as an incompleteness, and I wouldn't call it a "botch" of anything.

By Ambitwistor (not verified) on 24 Feb 2010 #permalink

Nice explanation. And I'm hesitant to complicate things too much, but I can't help myself:

I would point out that the image of the tides (ferinstance the one labelled "Steve Gaunt") are in disagreement with experimental observation. In fact, Iâd venture that the OPPOSITE of that drawing is closer to the truth.

If you hang out for a day at the beach and watch the moon and the tides (on the day of a new moon, so you donât have to worry about solar vs lunar tides) you will quickly find that high tide occurs pretty close in time to moonrise and moonset, and low tide occurs pretty close in time to the moon being overhead.

If youâre a landlubber, you can check out the tides online at, say, http://www.protides.com/hawaii/1332/ To simplify things, make sure to concentrate on a days with a new moon to avoid the complications of the solar and lunar tides fighting each other.

Your model is correct for a static earth and moon, but the actual dynamic system (where the ocean is resonantly-driven system) the response is almost (but not quite) 90-degrees out of phase with the drive. Which I think is some pretty neat physics as well.

By Anonymous Coward (not verified) on 25 Feb 2010 #permalink

Anonymous Coward @ 15:

I'm afraid that if you want to complicate things, it gets much more complicated, and there's no "90-degrees out of phase" resonance phenomenon involved. For one thing, the high-tide/low-tide pattern you observe in Hawaii is only true for some parts of the Earth. E.g., the same site you linked to shows that for coastal Oregon (http://www.protides.com/oregon/1005/), the tides are almost perfectly in phase with the moon (i.e., high tide when moon is overhead or at the nadir, low tide at moonrise and moonset). So what's really going on?

If all we had was a uniform Earth, covered by a uniform ocean, then things would be pretty simple, and the cotidal lines (lines connecting simultaneous high tides, low tides, and stages in between) ought to look like lines of longitude, with the tidal pattern moving from east to west (relative to the solid Earth).

But when you ask: how does the water actually move under the influence of the Moon's tides (ignoring the Sun's influence for the moment), when the Earth is rotating and the water is in ocean basins, with complicated ocean floor, continental, and island shapes -- then things get messy, with multiple circulation patterns. This picture shows the cotidal lines (white lines in the figure) for the real Earth, which are clearly nothing like a simple longitudinal pattern.

This page shows the pattern around Great Britain, from which you can see that when it's high tide in northeast Scotland, it is simultaneously low tide in East Anglia! The tide actually moves south along the east coast of Britain, but northeast along the coasts of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany.

So the phase of local tides relative to the phase of the Moon's tidal forcing on the rotating Earth is a complicated function of the Earth's topography, and can end up being pretty much any value you like.

I'd add that local effects outweigh all the global effects considerably. Despite your statement that tides at the equator are bigger,here in the UK, tides are typically between 4 and 7 metres, whereas South Sea Islands seem to get about 1/2 a metre at most.

@Davem

Actually, one of the sites I looked at had a FAQ of "Why aren't there tides at the equator?"

The answer was basically that the main axis of the ellipsoid of the oceans caused by the tides is aligned (roughly) with the moon, which is on an inclined orbit around the Earth. Because of various factors, this inclination is between 18 and 28degrees relative to the equator. Most of the time, the slice through this ellipsoid along the equatorial plane doesn't have a large amount of variation, so the tides at the equator are low.

I suppose that would suggest that when there is an eclipse on the equinox the equatorial tides are large.

By Blaise Pascal (not verified) on 26 Feb 2010 #permalink

Tahiti has almost no tide, while the Bay of Fundy and the English channel islands have huge tides. Blaise is correct.

THANK YOU so much for this great post! I am going to be using it to discuss tides in my 7th grade science class at our Colorado Virtual School this fall!

Thanks again,
Joanne

As a student of personal development, the real icing on the cake for was the opening quotation by Stowe. By explaining just why we must never give up when the "tide is high," you have truly made my day!

This is an incisive post and very commendable. Would you please elaborate on the cause and/or effect of tides on climate change.

This is a great article. I had this topic get brought up in a conversation the other day and now I know how it all works. Thanks for the great article and letting me share.

Hey, this was pretty thorough.. Just wanted to say thanks as this helped me quite a bit with my sons homework tonight. We enjoyed reading it together actually and making sense of what he was learning in school.. thanks.
-Peter, grout stain guy

Just by considering the gravity of the Sun, Earth and Moon, and by calculating the force on the oceans, you can do an incredible job of predicting the tides of the ocean. This is easier said than done though. I still think it takes a lot of experience to be able to do this accurately. Nevertheless, the post was very informative.
Club Penguin

The Earth is quite far from the Moon, at an average distance of 384,400 km. When we speak about this distance, however, we are talking about the distance from the center of the Earth to the center of the Moon. But one edge of the Earth will always be closer to the Moon by 6,370 km (the radius of the Earth), and the opposite edge will always be farther from the Moon by the same amount. This means -- after a little math -- that the force of gravity of the Moon on the far side of the Earth is about 3.2% weaker at the far edge of the Earth than it is at the center of the Earth, and about 3.4% stronger at the edge of Earth nearest the Moon than it is at the center.

If you are on the coast and the moon is directly overhead, you should experience a high tide. If the moon is directly overhead on the opposite side of the planet, you should also experience a high tide.

Poptropica

The tidal force generated by a planet is based on two things - the mass of the planet and its distance from the earth - and it is the latter of these that is far more significant. So, the effect of the planets is negligible.
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By Marco Panza (not verified) on 21 Apr 2010 #permalink

The reason we have any tides at all are twofold: the Earth is pretty big and gravity cares how far away you are. The farther away you are from something, the weaker gravity's pull is on you. If you were to take a look at our Solar System, and you were to move the Earth out to where Pluto is, you'd find that the force of gravity from the Sun on the Earth would be an astounding 1,600 times weaker than it is today, as Pluto is 40 times as far away as Earth is from the Sun!
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You know after reading some of these comments, its all making sense now. I really didn't know much about how they change but its really interesting now that I know how they work. great article and thanks for the information.Alarm California

Tide happen twice a day, on most coasts, the tide creeps up the beach and you have high tide. It then goes back, and you have high tide. It then goes back, and you have low tide. Some places have four tides a day. In others, the rise and fall of the water level is too small to be noticed.
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By Benjamin Bratt (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink

The high cost has creates a lot of arbitrage opportunities too. Well, if you are not living near a beach side, you might not be familiar with the look. I have seen a few times only, lol!

On the coast, the moon is directly overhead and one should experience high tide in that area. If you want to see high tide, it is the best place to see that. You can use some castelle patio furniture for enjoying the high tides.

If you were to look at everything in our Solar System and ask what affects the Earth the most, gravitationally, you'd think to look at two things: the Moon, because it's massive and it's very, very close to us, and the Sun, because it's extremely massive, even though it's quite far away. Let's start by considering the Moon.

I always knew that tides occurs twice in a day but never knew that its because of the gravity depending on how far our earth is. Its really amazing to know and understand nature in a scientific way.
- Jim from allergy symptoms

Hey Ethan, I'm a scuba diving instructor and this article is a brilliant way to explain my students about tides. Thanks mate

The two times that correspond to Moonrise and Moonset are your two low tides per day. And the closer to the equator you are, the more severe your tides are, while the closer to the poles you are, the less drastic your tides are!

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This is a nice and informative blog. I will be coming back in a bit. I admire what you have done here. I love the part where you say you are doing on science. And in particularly I agree with you that, "The Earth is quite far from the Moon, at an average distance of 384,400 km. When we speak about this distance, however, we are talking about the distance from the center of the Earth to the center of the Moon".Thanks for the great post. http://chaseautoloan.net

This is a good image show, as at the point closest to the Moon and at the point farthest from the Moon. As the solid ground rotates, each point on the Earth passes through the side closest to the Moon and the side farthest from the Moon once per day.
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Just by considering the gravity of the Sun, Earth and Moon, and by calculating the force on the oceans, you can do an incredible job of predicting the tides of the ocean. This is easier said than done though. I still think it takes a lot of experience to be able to do this accurately. Nevertheless, the post was very informative.Hotels

I will be coming back in a bit. I admire what you have done here. I love the part where you say you are doing on science. And in particularly I agree with you that, "The Earth is quite far from the Moon, at an average distance of 384,400 km. When we speak about this distance, however, we are talking about the distance from the center of the Earth to the center of the Moon". tv episodes guide

This is one of the best explanations on how the tides work that I've ever seen! I knew it had something to do with the moon...but I didn't know quite what. - Milt IWB Holster

By Milt Sparks (not verified) on 17 Jun 2010 #permalink

This is a very good image for me. I did not have nearly the breadth of information that you did, my answer was basically "the moon and gravity". There response was that gravity isn't strong enough and the moon isn't big enough to cause that much of a chance.
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Variations in the height of the water level are typically on the order of three meters (maybe ten feet) each day, depending on a couple of factors, which I'll go into below.

Tide happen twice a day, on most coasts, the tide creeps up the beach and you have high tide. It then goes back, and you have high tide. It then goes back, and you have low tide. Some places have four tides a day. In others, the rise and fall of the water level is too small to be noticed. Cheers myminds.eu

A tide is the regular and predictable movement of water caused by astronomical phenomena - the way the earth, moon and sun move in relation to each other and the force of gravity. These are the values that you can see in tide tables.

I've never really understood this till now. All I knew was that the moon had something to do with the tides but never could explain how. Thanks! This really made it clear! Too bad I didn't see this post when I was still in school!

This is a good image viewing. This force is weak enough that it wouldn't be a big deal at all if the Earth were simply a solid ball; the tidal forces from the Moon are unable to stretch rocks and dirt by more than a few millimeters.
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The tidal forces of gravity cause the side of the earth closest to the moon to accelerate faster than the side of the earth farthest from the moon. This is because gravity is not a uniform force, becoming weaker the farther the objects are from each other.

If this rope contraption is in orbit around the moon such that the middle weight is in free-fall, and we adjust our point of view to be on the middle weight, then both the outer and inner weights will give the appearance of pulling away in opposite directions. Kartenlegen

Instead of the Earth and oceans, let's pretend we are dealing with three equal weights attached to a long rope (200km long), one in the middle of the rope and one on each end, stretched radially away from the moon.Affilojetpack

This is my first visit here. I found some really interesting stuff in your blog especially this discussion. Like you, I think that considering the gravity of the Sun, Earth and Moon, and by calculating the force on the oceans, we can do an incredible job of predicting all of the above about the tides.

I compiled a booklet for a Citizen Science Symposium at Camp Bayou last year. It has a short intro then some sample projects that can be used right from the booklet.
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I love your tides explanation. Nuances aside, it's a great illustration. But, I am confused by your statement that synchronizes low tides to moonrise and moonset. Checking the times for my location, these don't correspond at all. Are there further details that would explain that, or am I misunderstanding?source naturals herbs

By charlie1213 (not verified) on 21 Jul 2010 #permalink

The tidal forces of gravity that you wrote about are due to the properties of gravitational waves. The tidal effects of gravity are controlled by the properties of vertical and horizontal separation.

Gravitational waves pull to the center of an object. This causes objects vertically aligned to the axis of the force of gravity to pull away from each other. This is because the object closest to a gravitational force will accelerate towards its center slightly faster than the object farther away. The ocean closest to the moon accelerates to the moon faster than the ocean on the far side of the earth.

The horizontal separation property of the tidal effect causes two objects that are spaced horizontally to decrease their horizontal separation as they move towards the gravitational force. This is the phenomenon of tidal contraction. The water pulls horizontally across the earth's surface toward the center of the gravitational force. This causes the ebb and flow of the tides.

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This has always been somewhat of a challenge for me to understand, along with some of my classmates. Just the way the tides roll and the waves shift, it's kind of complicated. Your diagrams have helped a whole lot though, and I appreciate it very much! Definitely sharing this with my teacher.

I am having trouble understanding why there would be a bulge on the opposite side to the moon (at point C in the 6th picture). Can anyone please explain that to me?Solaray

By charlie1213 (not verified) on 23 Jul 2010 #permalink

Tide happen twice a day, on most coasts, the tide creeps up the beach and you have high tide. It then goes back, and you have high tide. It then goes back, and you have low tide. Some places have four tides a day. In others, the rise and fall of the water level is too small to be noticed. Cheers London Hotels

By jibran ayub (not verified) on 25 Jul 2010 #permalink

I've never really understood this till now. All I knew was that the moon had something to do with the tides but never could explain how. I think this post can be posted as a complete article in a science or Physics book.
Very good. Tide happen twice a day, on most coasts, the tide creeps up the beach and you have high tide. Life Insurance Quotes

I absolutely love that quote by Harriet Beecher Stowe in the opening of this article. Makes complete sense because the tide will push you up into a wall...then right after it will bring you right back out :)

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The Earth is quite far from the Moon, at an average distance of 384,400 km. When we speak about this distance, however, we are talking about the distance from the center of the Earth to the center of the Moon. But one edge of the Earth will always be closer to the Moon by 6,370 km (the radius of the Earth), and the opposite edge will always be farther from the Moon by the same amount. This means -- after a little math -- that the force of gravity of the Moon on the far side of the Earth is about 3.2% weaker at the far edge of the Earth than it is at the center of the Earth, and about 3.4% stronger at the edge of Earth nearest the Moon than it is at the center.

I've never really understood this till now. All I knew was that the moon had something to do with the tides but never could explain how. Thanks! This really made it clear! Too bad I didn't see this post when I was still in school!

Thank you for this explanation. I liked it especially because of the clear structure and the fast that you didnât use too many technical terms. I never really thought about how tides work but reading your article was very interesting. It is very fascinating how the other planets affect the earth and the life on it. Iâll keep that in mind when Iâm at the seaside next time and try to keep track of what I read in your article.

Thank you for the explanation. It is extremely interesting. I haven't known that it is so complicated and systematic. I'm very glad I have understood the nature of tides. Well, we live in the 21st century and we should be able to understand and explain natural phenomena.
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Thank you for the explanation. It is extremely interesting. I haven't known that it is so complicated and systematic. I'm very glad I have understood the nature of tides. Well, we live in the 21st century and we should be able to understand and explain natural phenomena.
Best wishes Viola from http://www.mp3hounddog.com

love your tides explanation. Nuances aside, it's a great illustration. But, I am confused by your statement that synchronizes low tides to moonrise and moonset.

Gravitational waves pull to the center of an object. This causes objects vertically aligned to the axis of the force of gravity to pull away from each other. This is because the object closest to a gravitational force will accelerate towards its center slightly faster than the object farther away. The ocean closest to the moon accelerates to the moon faster than the ocean on the far side of the earth.

The horizontal separation property of dds agency the tidal effect causes two objects that are spaced horizontally to decrease their horizontal separation as they move towards the gravitational force. This is the phenomenon of tidal contraction. The water pulls horizontally across the earth's surface toward the center of the gravitational force. This causes the ebb and flow of the tides.

But the Moon isn't the only gravitational body in our Solar System affecting the tides on Earth. While none of the other planets, moons, asteroids or comets in the Solar System matter, the Sun does!

This is information I never knew I learn something every day.

Most tides are semidiurnal because of the physics of gravity and the relationship between the earth and its oceans. When the moon is pulling on one side of the earth it pulls both the earth and everything on it, but the earth is elastic.
The tidal forces of gravity cause the side of the earth closest to the moon to speed up faster than the side of the earth farthest from the moon. This is because gravity is not a uniform force, becoming weaker the farther the objects are from each other.
The far side of the earth moves slower in relation to the middle side of the earth causing an opposite tidal bulge on an ocean centered on the far side. This will generate a corresponding tide on the opposite side of the earth.
I'll give an example. The Atlantic Ocean is centered below the moon on one side of the earth. This creates a low tide because the middle of the ocean is bulged causing the ocean to move away from the shore anime. The Pacific Ocean will bulge in the middle on the opposite side of the earth, making a corresponding tide. If the fringe of an ocean is centered under the moons gravitational force then a high tide forms.

The tides change from high to low high to low. At high tide the water swells and comes up the shore to a higher point. During low tide, water recedes back towards the ocean.

I found some really interesting stuff in your blog especially this discussion. Like you, I think that considering the gravity of the Sun, Earth and Moon, and by calculating the force on the oceans, we can do an incredible job of predicting all of the above about the tides.

It is so great to read about REAL, HONEST stories â I read about REAL stories every day to motivate me and keep me on the right track. And this story here â another example â listen and read about people who study hard and learn some valuable insight about for example tides is a GREAT IDEA.
WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO KNOW ABOUT TIDES, THEIR COMINGS AND GOINGS?
Best of all,
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I appreciate your knowledge that you have shared. You are like a scientist and I appreciate for that. Also your writings are great and it could attract readers.

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I really enjoyed reading this post and love the pics. My mates and I are planning road trip in US after finishing uni. We all canât wait. Thanks for great tips!

The main thing that causes debt would be people who aren't planning. They don't plan a budget. They don't plan with the money coming in versus the money that needs to go out. When I say needs to go out I mean those necessities: the rent, the mortgage, the electricity. Those are things that need to be taken into consideration before spending money on frivolous things. And we as Americans have a tendency to go out and buy those frivolous things first. We tend to use credit to buy those frivolous things in our life and by doing that you're racking up credit card bills, interest payments, so the main thing thatTop 10 Music Albums causes debt would be poor planning and not living by a budget.

I think that considering the gravity of the Sun, Earth and Moon, and by calculating the force on the oceans, we can do an incredible job of predicting all of the above about the tides.

Tides have always fascinated me and I wonder if the gravitational pull was ever to shift drastically, would the world become flooded within a matter of minutes?

Variations in the height of the water level are typically on the order of three meters each day, depending on a couple of factors.Jockey Shift

By Jockey Shift (not verified) on 06 Sep 2010 #permalink

Your illustration of how far the center of the moon is from the earth is really intriguing; but it also reminds me of how close other part of solar system is to the earth. For instance, Mercury's closest part to the earth is about 77.3 million km. Venus is only about 40 million km, Mars 65 million km and Jupiter a whopping 588 million km.

I just cannot believe how everything in the universe is so well ordered, as you show here with your brilliant pics. There must be some powerful creator behind such marvels.

Thank you for the explanation. It is extremely interesting. I haven't known that it is so complicated and systematic. I'm very glad I have understood the nature of tides. Well, we live in the 21st century and we should be able to understand and explain natural phenomena.

I appreciate your knowledge that you have shared that considering the gravity of the Sun, Earth and Moon, The far side of the earth moves slower in relation to the middle side of the earth causing an opposite tidal bulge on an ocean centered on the far side. This will generate a corresponding tide on the opposite side of the earth.valutahandel

By Walter Hanson (not verified) on 12 Sep 2010 #permalink

I used to get confused by the second bulge (opposite the Moon-side), but I've learned the key to remember is imaging the centripetal force "flinging" the water to the outside. Just like if you were to grab someone's hands and spin around (merrily), you would expect both participant's long hair would get swung to the "outside" (assuming they had long hair).

I am one of the leads. We're a slightly different vein of project, in that we recruit volunteers for data mining rather than collecting "in the wild." But, it's been pretty fun to see the cross-section of people who have participated so far! Everyone from students to professors to artists to retail workers. . .and several continents represented, too!

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This is so cool. I am such a huge fan of their work. I really am impressed with how much you have worked to make this website so enjoyable.

I liked the article. The tides change from high to low high to low. At high tide the water swells and comes up the shore to a higher point. During low tide, water recedes back towards the ocean. But what would happen if the earth stops rotating? Get's you wondering doesn't it.

I have seen several web sites touch the explanation for the tides but none of them had such an articulate and neat,well-explained article.Especially thanks for putting out the pictures,that helped a lot with grasping the concepts you had listed above
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I don't understand your objection. Are you complaining that the other figures don't explain why there is a bulge along the Earth-Moon line, but no bulge perpendicular to it? If so, that's not an inaccuracy so much as an incompleteness, and I wouldn't call it a "botch" of anything. Niche Ideas

Are there any significant variation in the behaviour of the ocean tidal system with the global warming? There are so many environmental changes due to that. I just wonder there must be some involvement of Global warming with the present behaviour of oceans. What are your thoughts on this?
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Tides result from the gravitational pull exerted on the Earth by the Moon,and to a lesser extent by the Sun. The Moon's gravity pulls the earth creating a bulge in the oceans on the side facing it.The centrifugal force produced by the Earth's rotation cause water to pile up on the opposite side as well.The tidal bulges remain in place through the day,and the Earth rotates through them .So ,each place passes through both bulges in each 24-hour period ,producing high and low tides(which occur at right angle to the bulges) twice in 24 hours.The effect of the Sun is less powerful(due to its distance)than that of the moon,but when the sun and the moon are in alignment with the earth,their combined gravity creates the highest tides called spring tides.When the sun and the moon form a right angle in relation to the earth,the lowest tides called the neap tides occur.

speak about this distance, however, we are talking about the distance from the center of the Earth to the center of the Moon. But one edge of the Earth will always be closer to the Moon by 6,370 km (the radius of the Earth), and the opposite edge will always be farther from the Moon by the same amount.

A really nice explanation. Actually I have a PhD from physics, though in a not very related field to astronomy, solid state physics, and I found the explanation pretty clear, in the Feynman style. Though I would add a few laws and a bit more numbers and how they were arrived at, to make it more quantitative, but then again, it would probably only make it harder to read for the average reader. Again, great article.

I was under the impression that it had more to do with how the horizontal gravity vector actually pushes the water horizontally to where the furthermost and closest points to the moon are?

The effect of the Sun is less powerful(due to its distance)than that of the moon,but when the sun and the moon are in alignment with the earth,their combined gravity creates the highest tides called spring tides.When the sun and the moon form a right angle in relation to the earth,the lowest tides called the neap tides occur.

Decent post really! Tides vary from day to day both in their timing and in height. It is well known that the tides at a particular location and time are the result of the gravitational influences between the Earth, the Moon and the Sun. Thanks for sharing with me great post. Awaiting for your next one..
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The Sun also exerts on the Earth a gravitational attraction which results in a secondary tidal effect. When the Earth, Moon and Sun are approximately aligned, these two tidal effects reinforce one another. This alignment occurs approximately twice a month. These recurring extreme tides are termed spring tides. Tides with the smallest range are termed neap tides.

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was under the impression that it had more to do with how the horizontal gravity vector actually pushes the water horizontally to where the furthermost and closest points to the moon are?

The Sun causes Global Warming? Yes. The CO2 that we produce will cause the earth to keep all the sun's energy. The sun also growing in size. this means we need to go away from the sun a little every year so that the warming does not increase. If we don't move away from the sun then well be fried? I don't know, but you can imagine this situation a few years from now. Let us wait till 2012 and see if what the astronomers says actually happens = the power grid failures, mobile and satellite failures etc.

Tidal changes are the net result of multiple influences that act over varying periods. These influences are called tidal constituents. The primary constituents are the Earth's rotation, the positions of Moon and the Sun relative to Earth, the Moon's altitude above the Earth, and bathymetry.

Variations with periods of less than half a day are called harmonic constituents. Conversely, long period constituents cycle over days, months, or years.

I like the figure depicting the solar system. There is something interesting that i have noticed over sometime. Regular natural phenomenon are depicted by sine wave whereas abnormal aren't , nothing surprising but why do most natural phenomenon always correspond to a sine wave?.

It starts with the gravitational attraction of the moon and the sun. If you were to look at everything in our Solar System and ask what affects the Earth the most, gravitationally, you'd think to look at two things: the Moon, because it's massive and it's very, very close to us, and the Sun, because it's extremely massive, even though it's quite far away. Let's start by considering the Moon. The sun and the moon definitely has to act together for the tide to formâ¦

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Great job with explaining tides. Its amazing how much we take for granted. After years of growing up in a fishing family, I would love to hear how the tides effect fishing. I'm not sure why, but I know they do.

I have seen several web sites touch the explanation for the tides but none of them had such an articulate and neat,well-explained article...thats all...........

As somebody who have over the year marveled about the solar systems and how the sun and the moon relate to one another I must say that it is all relative to how moon and the earth causes the sea level to go up and down. The centrifugal force produced by the Earth's rotation cause water to pile up on the opposite side as well. The tidal bulges remain in place through the day, and the Earth rotates through them .So ,each place passes through both bulges in each 24-hour period ,producing high and low tides(which occur at right angle to the bulges) twice in 24 hours. The effect of the Sun is less powerful (due to its distance) than that of the moon, but when the sun and the moon are in alignment with the earth, their combined gravity creates the highest tides called spring tides.

Indeed, when the sun and the moon form a right angle in relation to the earth, the lowest tides called the neap tides occur. Some say it is the gravity at which the moon pulls the earth slightly oval.

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you'd think to look at two things: the Moon, because it's massive and it's very, very close to us, and the Sun, because it's extremely massive, even though it's quite far away. Let's start by considering the Moon. The sun and the moon definitely has to act together for the tide to formâ¦

Excellent article. It was nice to see those 10 principles presented in a refreshing way.

I especially liked the part about helpful error messages. There have been entire books written on the subject and you summed up everything an error message should be in one sentence: âError messages should be expressed in plain language (no codes), precisely indicate the problem, and constructively suggest a solution.â

Thanks for explaining this. It is actually a relatively simple concept and I remember learning about it in grade school, but you example is very straightforward and makes it easier to understand.

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Hey i read your post and i want to say that it is very interesting and informative. The graph you showed is fantastic. The day tide after that next day tide, simple awesome.

Thanks... :)

The Earth is quite far from the Moon, at an average distance of 384,400 km. When we speak about this distance, however, we are talking about the distance from the center of the Earth to the center of the Moon.

Hi, your article corrected my misconceptions about tides. Specially this point is very logical.

"The Earth is pretty big and gravity cares how far away you are. The farther away you are from something, the weaker gravity's pull is on you"

When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, ................... - Harriet Beecher Stowe

Inspiring stuff! Can't ask for more.

That's actually kind of fascinating. Without knowing anything you'd think that tidal behavior would be so hard to quantify, but when you take all of these factors into consideration and make mathematical models it makes a lot more sense.

your explanation is really good. I been teaching this to my students in the ohbelanova college and they always look perplexed by the subject. Your detailed explanation will be good for reference.

The word "tides" is a generic term used to define the alternating rise and fall in sea level with respect to the land, produced by the gravitational attraction of the moon and the sun. To a much smaller extent, tides also occur in large lakes, the atmosphere, and within the solid crust of the earth, acted upon by these same gravitational forces of the moon and sun.

What an amazing content is this and surely it makes realize each and everyone who read this. Thanks for providing so fantastic and sweet suggestions ....i really appreciate it.

I never ever read such nice info about tide.
I think its also the main cause behind tidal waves.
Great content really ,I fully appreciate your knowledge.

First of all, this is amazing article, second, to call the whole tide and how it is formed a phenomena is an understatement. Your entire article illustration of how far the center of the moon is from the earth is really is intriguing; but it also reminds me of how close other part of solar system is to the earth. For example, Mercuryâs closest part to the earth is about 77.3 million km. and on the other hand, Venus is only about 40 million km, and Mars 65 million km and Jupiter a whopping 588 million km. Thank you for the explanation. It is extremely interesting. I haven't known that it is so complicated and systematic. One thing is for certain though, and that is that your article for year to come will serve as one the best artfully and clearly written article on solar systems.

Thankd for such an informative post. I really must say, wow, you have gone all out to explain the concept of how tides work. I especially love the images. Very explicitly explained.

Great article you have posted i liked it very much,it was full of information and was very interesting to read i have also suggested my friends to have look on this website to have the information.

What a great article, Ethan, and valuable further details from readers. Thanks!
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I have much interest in the Bay of Fundy since I used to live up that way. Did you know that during the 12 hour tidal period, 115 billion tonnes of water flow in and out of the bay? The Bay of Fundy and Ungava Bay (both in Canada), each lays claim to the highest tides on earth. The highest water level ever recorded in the Bay of Fundy system was 21.6 metres (70.9 feet) on the night of October 4â5, 1869 resulting from the combination of high winds, abnormally low atmospheric pressure, and a spring tide.

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Your piece on how tide turns is fascinating, and may I also say that it is a great read. For those of us who are into astronomy will tell you that measuring the movement of the sun and moon are not as easy as some would like to make it. For instance, Mercuryâs closest part to the earth is about 77.3 million km. and on the other hand, Venus is only about 40 million km, and Mars 65 million km and Jupiter a whopping 588 million km. So as you can see, it is somewhat complicated than most will have you believe. Again this is great read, and I enjoyed it a lot.

Without knowing anything you'd think that tidal behavior would be so hard to quantify, but when you take all of these factors into consideration and make mathematical models it makes a lot more sense.

I actually have a fondness for one supposed origin of the practice and think it very much applies to White: if a gift recipient that said gift honors later shows he/she is unworthy, then the honorific has to be returned. The Earth is pretty big and gravity cares how far away you are. The farther away you are from something, the weaker gravity's pull is on you"

This is highly informatics, crisp and clear. I think that Everything has been described in systematic manner so that reader could get maximum information and learn many things. This is one of the best blogs I have read.

only about 40 million km, and Mars 65 million km and Jupiter a whopping 588 million km. So as you can see, it is somewhat complicated than most will have you believe. Again this is great read, and I enjoyed it a lot.

I don't get the two tides a day explanation. The Moon (and to a lesser extent the sun) pull a bulge of water creating a tide that follows them around. How does "centrifugal force" create a bulge 180 degrees out from the gravitational pull?

Surely this force pulls in proportion to the mass of the body of water and would exaggerate the gravitational pull and minimise any tendency to have an opposing bulge to the that caused by the moon's gravity? website icons for web

I know tides happen because of the moon. When I saw the picture here specially the GIF. I really image how it works. Thanks for this interesting topic you post.

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Excellent article on why we have tides and gravitational pulls that will provide the incentive and basis for my works. I wonder if I can mention the article as a bibliographic reference in my work. Thanks!

Without knowing anything you'd think that tidal behavior would be so hard to quantify, but when you take all of these factors into consideration and make mathematical models it makes a lot more sense.

For those of us who are into astronomy will tell you that measuring the movement of the sun and moon are not as easy as some would like to make it. For instance, Mercuryâs closest part to the earth is about 77.3 million km. and on the other hand, Venus is only about 40 million km, and Mars 65 million km and Jupiter a whopping 588 million km. So as you can see, it is somewhat complicated than most will have you believe!

I used to get confused by the second bulge (opposite the Moon-side), but I've learned the key to remember is imaging the centripetal force "flinging" the water to the outside. Just like if you were to grab someone's hands and spin around (merrily), you would expect both participant's long hair would get swung to the "outside" (assuming they had long hair). Vereidigter Dolmetscher

Excellent article on why we have tides and gravitational pulls that will provide the incentive and basis for my works. I wonder if I can mention the article as a bibliographic reference in my work.I enjoyed the blog post. I actually knew about most of this, but having said that, I still thought it was useful. Nice job!

What would happen to the tide if the moons mass were double or the distance between us and the Moon were half? Anyone?

Mike Wright

By Mike P. Wright (not verified) on 23 Nov 2010 #permalink

The theory of how the tides forms or works is nothing more than the rotation and movement of the solar system. For example, if this rope contraption is in orbit around the moon such that the middle weight is in free-fall, and we adjust our point of view to be on the middle weight, then both the outer and inner weights will give the appearance of pulling away in opposite directions. It is simply a matter of the movement of the sun as it relates to its distance from the earth.

Hi all
much intersting article.I have much interest in the Bay of Fundy since I used to live up that way. Did you know that during the 12 hour tidal period, 115 billion tonnes of water flow in and out of the bay? The Bay of Fundy and Ungava Bay (both in Canada), each lays claim to the highest tides on earth cissp dumps

Thankd for such an informative post. I really must say, wow, you have gone all out to explain the concept of how tides work. I especially love the images. Very explicitly explained.

I think that Everything has been described in systematic manner so that reader could get maximum information and learn many things, best post

it is definitely educational stuff. Never thought I would find the information I would like right here. I have been scouring throughout the net for a while now and had been starting to get disappointed. Fortunately, I happened across your page and received exactly what I had been hunting for.

I wonder if I can mention the article as a bibliographic reference in my work.I enjoyed the blog post. I actually knew about most of this, but having said that, I still thought it was useful. Nice job!

Thanks some great information here keep up the good work. i actually provide a more constructive comment as I'm a bit out of my deph but i will be checking back here for further updates. Goodluck, Roy Mendez Hemorrhoid

By Anthony H (not verified) on 03 Dec 2010 #permalink

This is really well put together. I already knew that the moon was a major influence in the tides, but it was interesting to learn that the sun had a role to play as well.

The sun happens to be shining pretty bright today too...so I'm going to stop tripping around to science sites and take my Harley-Davidson for a ride.

By Sam Huntington (not verified) on 06 Dec 2010 #permalink

Excellent article on why we have tides and gravitational pulls that will provide the incentive and basis for my works. I wonder if I can mention the article as a bibliographic reference in my work. Thanks!
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Tides are very common that happens. Studying the moves of the water is very exciting. We all know that high tides and low tides are happening and it is very exciting if we know when will be the changes of tides occur. Thank you for posting this article.

Tides are very common that happens. Studying the moves of the water is very exciting. We all know that high tides and low tides are happening and it is very exciting if we know when will be the changes of tides occur. Thank you for posting this article.

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basically tide happen because wind and gravity. but i really like the explanation and pictures
the pictures will help surfer schedule lol

Instead of the Earth and oceans, let's pretend we are dealing with three equal weights attached to a long rope (200km long), one in the middle of the rope and one on each end, stretched radially away from the moon.

The gravitational force experienced by the weights falls off as 1/R^2, so if the middle weight experiences a gravitational force A/R^2, the outer weight experiences a force of A/(R+100km)^2, which is less than the middle weight, and the inner weight experiences a force of A/(R-100km)^2, which is greater than the middle weight. Because all three must fall at the same rate (they are tied to each other, after all) the rope must be under tension.

If this rope contraption is in orbit around the moon such that the middle weight is in free-fall, and we adjust our point of view to be on the middle weight, then both the outer and inner weights will give the appearance of pulling away in opposite directions.

Looking at image 6, the three vectors are C = ->, B = -->, and A = --->. If you were to use a frame of reference which made the center of the Earth in free-fall, that would be the equivalent of adding -B = . Effectively, the water would be pulled radially outward by C', radially inward by A', and not at all by B'.

If, instead of a rope, you had a large ring, and you measured the pull of the moon's gravity (relative to the center of the ring) on various parts of the ring, you get a diagram like the 5th down. Every part of the ring experiences a tidal force which has a radial component away from the center of the ring, and tangentially towards the center of the ring. The tangential component comes from the fact that the moon's gravity is acting like it's coming from a point, so the forces on the ring are not parallel, but radiate from a point. This also contributes to the tidal flows.

This is really well written. I already knew that the moon was influential on the tides...I had no idea that the sun had a significant role too.

You mind if I my friend uses this as a reference? He's a scientist. Happy Holidays.

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That's a quote for the history books!
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Tides are very common that happens. Studying the moves of the water is very exciting. We all know that high tides and low tides are happening and it is very exciting if we know when will be the changes of tides occur

This explanation is fantastic! I've never really understood the science behind tides, but now having read the above, I now feel confident enough to explain this to someone else. Fortunately my montblanc watch already has this functionality built into it's display, but now I can explain the science behind the phenomenon. Does anyone know where I can find a simple explanation for Evolution?

By Nigel Hill (not verified) on 03 Jan 2011 #permalink

This is a good explanation, but there are still a few issues, I've not fully grasped. For example how can a relatively small object like the moom exert such a gravitational pull on the sea and tides, but not have the same effect on other objects on earth. Secondly does the phase of the phone have an impact on the tides...I can't think that it would but a scientist friend of mine that is an expert in paternity test said that it does. I would think irrespective of the phase of the moon the physical object is the same size and therefore exerts the gravitational pull, as long as the distance is the same. Can anyone help settle this issue?

By Peter Raul (not verified) on 05 Jan 2011 #permalink

Nice presentation, in addition tides also vary in frequency. In some locations, tides are diurnal, meaning that there is one high tide and one low tide every day. Provillus In other areas, tides are semi-diurnal, with two high and two low points.

Best in the class!, A tide is the regular and predictable movement of water caused by astronomical phenomena - the way the earth, moon and sun move in relation to each other and the force of Bowtrol gravity.

Also In neap tides, the Sun and Moon are at right angles, exerting forces pulling in opposite directions and creating a lower tide. The difference between the high and low points of the tides is called the tidal range, and things which are alternately exposed and covered by the tides are said to be in the intertidal zone.

Tides are caused by the gravitational pull of the Sun and Moon on the Earth's surface. While most people associate tides specifically with the ocean, the entire planet is subject to tidal forces, as is the atmosphere, and in fact all celestial bodies are influenced by tidal forces. The large volume of water on the Earth has made the actions of the tides particularly notable and interesting. Discussions of the movements of the tides can be found in the most ancient writings of the world, suggesting that people have always been intrigued by the once seemingly mysterious rise and fall of water along the shoreline.

As the Earth rotates, it is tugged at by the Moon and Sun. Because the Moon is much closer, the pull of the Moon is approximately twice as strong as the pull of the Sun, which explains why the tides are so closely linked with the lunar day. As the Moon moves around the Earth, it creates a bulge of water on the Earth's surface which follows its movements, creating a tide. A corresponding bulge appears on the opposite side of the Earth, thanks to the centrifugal forces generated by the Earth's rotation.

Iâve paid my dues playing with computers and you know what? Iâd much rather interact with a flesh and blood creature with a soul. Something that talks to me and twitches when I poke it. Something that bleeds. And when I look deeply into a living organism, I see a miracle so complex and miraculous, it makes the greatest super computer look like a pair of rusty pliers.www.itunes.com/download

it is definitely educational stuff. Never thought I would find the information I would like right here. I have been scouring throughout the net for a while now and had been starting to get disappointed. Fortunately, I happened across your page and received exactly what I had been hunting for.

And the topic remindes me about ' The Big Bang Theory' - in their song they have these words " and this all starts with the bing bang.' :)

The tides in St Vincent's Gulf in South Australia are interesting. At the suburban beaches of Adelaide, the tides occur at roughly the same time each day, regardless of the phase of the moon. The reason is that the resonant frequency of the Gulf is close to one day, so solar tides are amplified and are slightly higher amplitude than the lunar tides. But they are so close in amplitude that every fortnight they practically cancel each other out and the resulting almost complete absence of tide is called locally the dodge tides....

@Linsey: let me give it a try...

Instead of the Earth and oceans, let's pretend we are dealing with three equal weights attached to a long rope (200km long), one in the middle of the rope and one on each end, stretched radially away from the moon.

The gravitational force experienced by the weights falls off as 1/R^2, so if the middle weight experiences a gravitational force A/R^2, the outer weight experiences a force of A/(R+100km)^2, which is less than the middle weight, and the inner weight experiences a force of A/(R-100km)^2, which is greater than the middle weight. Because all three must fall at the same rate (they are tied to each other, after all) the rope must be under tension.

If this rope contraption is in orbit around the moon such that the middle weight is in free-fall, and we adjust our point of view to be on the middle weight, then both the outer and inner weights will give the appearance of pulling away in opposite directions.

Looking at image 6, the three vectors are C = ->, B = -->, and A = --->. If you were to use a frame of reference which made the center of the Earth in free-fall, that would be the equivalent of adding -B = . Effectively, the water would be pulled radially outward by C', radially inward by A', and not at all by B'.

If, instead of a rope, you had a large ring, and you measured the pull of the moon's gravity (relative to the center of the ring) on various parts of the ring, you get a diagram like the 5th down. Every part of the ring experiences a tidal force which has a radial component away from the center of the ring, and tangentially towards the center of the ring. Soccer PicksThe tangential component comes from the fact that the moon's gravity is acting like it's coming from a point, so the forces on the ring are not parallel, but radiate from a point. This also contributes to the tidal flows.

WOW!

What a great post. It seems I didn't pay any attention in school regarding sun and moon :-) Thanks for sharing. potenshöjande medel

By Sven andreas (not verified) on 16 Jan 2011 #permalink

I'm still not 100% sure I get it, but I'll read it through a few more times. Obviously our planet is an extremely complicated but amazing place. Thank you for explaining!

Great post Ethan.

I used this post to help me with my earth science course. It blows my mind how complicated tides can really be.

Tides are very common that happens. Studying the moves of the water is very exciting. We all know that high tides and low tides are happening and it is very exciting if we know when will be the changes of tides occur. Thank you for posting this article.

Cool In addition, if I were to plot the pattern of the Moon's 'tidal' gravitational force added to the Earth's own gravitational force, at the Earth's surface, you would be able to resolve the force vectors at different latitudes and longitudes into a radial component directed towards the Earth's center, and a component tangential to the Earth's surface.

he gravitational force experienced by the weights falls off as 1/R^2, so if the middle weight experiences a gravitational force A/R^2, the outer weight experiences a force of A/(R+100km)^2, which is less than the middle weight, and the inner weight experiences a force of A/(R-100km)^2, which is greater than the middle weight. Because all three must fall at the same rate (they are tied to each other, after all) the rope must be under tension.

If this rope contraption is in orbit around the moon such that the middle weight is in free-fall, and we adjust our point of view to be on the middle weight, then both the outer and inner weights will give the appearance of pulling away in opposite directions. http://proverapills.com

Yeah, tides proves that the sea has life. As the Earth rotates, it is tugged at by the Moon and Sun. Because the Moon is much closer, the pull of the Moon is approximately twice as strong as the pull of the Sun, which explains why the tides are so closely linked with the lunar day.

Also In neap tides, the Sun and Moon are at right angles, exerting forces pulling in opposite directions and creating a lower tide. The difference between the high and low points of the tides is called the tidal range, and things which are alternately exposed and covered by the tides are said to be in the intertidal zone.

Also In neap tides, the Sun and Moon are at right angles, exerting forces pulling in opposite directions and creating a lower tide. The difference between the high and low points of the tides is called the tidal range, and things which are alternately exposed and covered by the tides are said to be in the intertidal zone.Jessica

The theory of how the tides forms or works is nothing more than the rotation and movement of the solar system. For example, if this rope contraption is in orbit around the moon such that the middle weight is in free-fall, and we adjust our point of view to be on the middle weight, then both the outer and inner weights will give the appearance of pulling away in opposite directions. It is simply a matter of the movement of the sun as it relates to its distance from the earth.

By Pirates On Str… (not verified) on 23 Feb 2011 #permalink

if I were to plot the pattern of the Moon's 'tidal' gravitational force added to the Earth's own gravitational force, at the Earth's surface, you would be able to resolve the force vectors at different latitudes and longitudes into a radial component directed towards the Earth's center, and a component tangential to the Earth's surface.

Because the Moon is much closer, the pull of the Moon is approximately twice as strong as the pull of the Sun, which explains why the tides are so closely linked with the lunar day.

Very nice explanation of tides and what makes it all happen! I spent several years of my life in science class at school and the teachers didnt even come close to explaining it like you have here. thanks.

Also In neap tides, the Sun and Moon are at right angles, exerting forces pulling in opposite directions and creating a lower tide. The difference between the high and low points of the tides is called the tidal range, and things which are alternately exposed and covered by the tides are said to be in the intertidal zone. Ãbersetzung Deutsch Englisch

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he changing distance separating the Moon and Earth also affects tide heights. When the Moon is at perigee, the range increases, and when it is at apogee, the range shrinks. Every 7½ lunations (the full cycles from full moon to new to full), perigee coincides with either a new or full moon causing perigean spring tides with the largest tidal range. If a storm happens to be moving onshore at this time, the consequences (property damage, etc.) can be severe.

it is definitely educational stuff. Never thought I would find the information I would like right here. I have been scouring throughout the net for a while now and had been starting to get disappointed. Fortunately, I happened across your page and received exactly what I had been hunting for.

And the topic remindes me about ' The Big Bang Theory' - in their song they have these words " and this all starts with the bing bang.' :) Elternforum

Yes, also the tidal forces of gravity cause the side of the earth closest to the moon to accelerate faster than the side of the earth farthest from the moon.

The theory of how the tides forms or works is nothing more than the rotation and movement of the solar system. Fortunately, I happened across your page and received exactly what I had been hunting for.

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Therefore it's probably wise to avoid posting any messages containing those words as they could end up being slightly corrupted (there's a 50% chance).

I would point out that the image of the tides (ferinstance the one labelled "Steve Gaunt") are in disagreement with experimental observation. In fact, Iâd venture that the OPPOSITE of that drawing is closer to the truth.

Because the Moon is much closer, the pull of the Moon is approximately twice as strong as the pull of the Sun, which explains why the tides are so closely linked with the lunar day.

it is definitely educational stuff. Never thought I would find the information I would like right here. I have been scouring throughout the net for a while now and had been starting to get disappointed. Fortunately, I happened across your page and received exactly what I had been hunting for.

And the topic remindes me about ' The Big Bang Theory' - in their song they have these words " and this all starts with the bing bang

I would point out that the image of the tides (ferinstance the one labelled "Steve Gaunt") are in disagreement with experimental observation. In fact, Iâd venture that the OPPOSITE of that drawing is closer to the truth.

Thank you so much for your explaination!
Wonderful! Thank you!

Wow, what a post. However, I too was under the impression that it had more to do with how the horizontal gravity vector actually pushes the water horizontally to where the most distant and closest points to the moon are? Thus the water bulges due to being pushed sideways along the Earth to where the both high tides are.

Anyways, may be now you can explain about how Tsunamis form. I'm sure a lot of us would appreciate that.

Thanks a bunch!

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Since the Moon is much closer, the pull of the Moon is approximately twice as strong as the pull of the Sun, which explains why the tides are so closely linked with the lunar day.

This led me to think in three dimensions. A sphere, after all, is three dimensional. Someone, somewhere, decided that one of those dimensions, let's call it the x axis, is political, perhaps cultural. What about the y axis? I am going to propose, with the intent that someone might want to argue to the contrary, that it be defined roughly as Jung's Thinking vs. Feeling. However, from a blog topic viewpoint it might be more a matter of a spectrum from hard science to fine arts.

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Planets too close to their stars are roasted. Planets too far from their stars are frozen. In between, research models show, there's a habitable zone where planet temperatures approximate Earth's. Tom @ Kostenlose Bankrolls

My wife comes from a place (Norfolk UK), where on some beaches the tide is faster than a man can run.
Due to how incredibly flat those beaches are.
Its put paid to several people over the years

Because the Moon is much closer, the pull of the Moon is approximately twice as strong as the pull of the Sun, which explains why the tides are so closely linked with the lunar day.

I would point out that the image of the tides (ferinstance the one labelled "Steve Gaunt") are in disagreement with experimental observation. In fact, Iâd venture that the OPPOSITE of that drawing is closer to the truth.

Great information. I got lucky and found your site from a random Google search. Fortunately for me, this topic just happens to be something that I've been trying to find more info on for research purpose. Keep us the great and thanks a lot.

Well ill be darned, i had no idea thats how the tides worked, I mean i had a general idea, but i didnt know the shape of the earth actually changes a little (or at least the water

I believe that is really interesting the way how tides work. Basically there are 2 cycles per day and the ocean reaches its highest point twice on a single day. Definitely this is extremely interesting.

SO this is how I will explain to my children when sometimes they ask about tides and other science topics. I am thankful that I found this blog

A great explanation about tides. I learn a lot reading you blog with various topics abut science. Sometimes I am printing your article and give it to my daughter.

Hi, tell me pls - i don't understand your objection. Are you complaining that the other figures don't explain why there is a bulge along the Earth-Moon line, but no bulge perpendicular to it? If so, that's not an inaccuracy so much as an incompleteness, and I wouldn't call it a "botch" of anything.

I really think that the way how the tides work is fascinating. In my opinion is just amazing that the cycle in which the water level appears to rise, while at low tide, the water level appears to drop, repeats itself over and over again without any kind of mistake. Just unbelievable.

Before it's really hard for me to understand how tides appear. But now the article really opened my mind and I understand more on how these tides come and go.

If you were to look at everything in our Solar System and observe the affests of this solar system on the earth then you will see that earth is most effective than other planets because it's massive and it's very, very close the Sun, because it's extremely massive, even though it's quite far away. Let's start by considering the Moon.

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By alcachofa diet (not verified) on 27 May 2011 #permalink

Online marketing is such a huge thing. A huge dimension so to speak since its range expands and improves from day to day. A lot of suggestions and comments to say. However with this site alone, it leaves a trace that is worth keeping! So keep up the good work guys! You're doing really great! AWESOME!

Ya know, I actually live down in Mission Beach, San Diego, where the tides + heavy rain can literally flood the entire area. We all know how the tides can mess things up, but I would imagine 99% of people here can't explain WHY the tides do what they do.

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Predicting the tide has always been a significant procedure done by fishermen. Failure to do this particular step could invite some risks which could harm people. It's amazing though how tides work. Involving the solar system and everything else which many have thought far from the issue. It's remarkable how everything can connect to each other and come up with something that is completely different.

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I could never figure out how the amplitude and frequency of tidal waves were calibrated. Your post helps, but I'll have to go through it again when I'm more alert.

It's funny... but some people actually use tides for telling figuring out date and time - don't ask me how.

Thanks for sharing.

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Let's face it, the sea is by far the strongest thing on earth. Rotation makes those billions tons of water move without anything that is even close to stop it. Check the Tsunami, nothing made by man is ever going to be able to stop this.

Nice read by the way thanks for that!

So if I see this correct the tides always follow the same pattern. I always thought that these would possible change due to moon standings and the rotation of the earth.. Funny.

It is fascinating to me how the universe affects the tides here on earth. Great Read. I sort of feel bitter at the fact that I was never taught this in school. nowadays I'm so caught up on work, that I forget to learn. I'm a securities consultant,and I'm always helping companies go public in the United States. Thanks for such an informative article.

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he changing distance separating the Moon and Earth also affects tide heights. When the Moon is at perigee, the range increases, and when it is at apogee, the range shrinks. Every 7½ lunations (the full cycles from full moon to new to full), perigee coincides with either a new or full moon causing perigean spring tides with the largest tidal range. If a storm happens to be moving onshore at this time, the consequences (property damage, etc.) can be severe.

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I have to admit that the way how tides work is just fascinating. Basically the same cycle is repeated over and over. It is just how amazing how mother nature never manages to fail. Impressive.

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Thanks for saving me the embarrassment of not being able to explain how tides work when my son asked me (thank god for google!). Unfortunately I know know the answer in so much detail I fear it may have gone slightly over his head!
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Nice article, but I miss at least the formula for gravitational law and application on those percentages in the sense how they were derived. Altogether a really nice presentation. Regards,

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Ethan--Very cool. For some reason I always thought (maybe because I grew up in the midwest, nowhere near an ocean) that low tide and high tide each happened once a day. Learn something new everyday!

Maybe for more science-y types you don't feel this way, but I always get the chills when I think for very long about the effect of the moon on the earth--actually, anything dealing with outerspace at all.

Thanks for explaining things so well!

Nice article, but I miss at least the formula for gravitational law and application on those percentages in the sense how they were derived. Altogether a really nice presentation. Regards,

What a bunch of regulations. Just shows with what process they were derived. Would be actually nice to make a kind of heat map to show in which states the laws are relaxed and in which states the limits are stringent.

Pablo Escobar Gaviria y Gonzalo RodrÃguez Gacha, quienes lideraron la compra masiva de predios rurales, crearon los primeros grupos en defensa de sus propiedades como, por ejemplo, el MAS en el Magdalena Medio, sobre todo en Puerto Boyacá.

A very good post indeed. It's a shame about some of the responses. I have to admit that the way how tides work is just fascinating. Basically the same cycle is repeated over and over. It is just how amazing how mother nature never manages to fail. Impressive. Thanks, Steve

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I was under the impression that it had more to do with how the horizontal gravity vector actually pushes the water horizontally to where the furtherest and closest points to the moon are? Thus the water bulges due to being pushed sideways along the Earth to where the both high tides are. Thank you for the valuable information.

Hi! I have just gone through you entire post and find it handy and extremely useful to understand how tides work. Great job done man and hope so to get more good info here on your blog! Keep it up!

Excellent post and realistic approach and best explanation of how tides work. I am really surprised after knowing the reality of how tides works and what factors are involved in this whole phenomena!

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I miss at least the formula for gravitational law and application on those percentages in the sense how they were derived.Surely this force pulls in proportion to the mass of the body of water and would exaggerate the gravitational pull and minimize any tendency to have an opposing bulge to the that caused by the moon's gravity

I don't get the two tides a day explanation. The Moon (and to a lesser extent the sun) pull a bulge of water creating a tide that follows them around. How does "centrifugal force" create a bulge 180 degrees out from the gravitational pull?

Surely this force pulls in proportion to the mass of the body of water and would exaggerate the gravitational pull and minimise any tendency to have an opposing bulge to the that caused by the moon's gravity?

Tides are very common that happens. Studying the moves of the water is very exciting. We all know that high tides and low tides are happening and it is very exciting if we know when will be the changes of tides occur. Thank you for posting this article.

I always get the chills when I think for very long about the effect of the moon on the earth--actually, anything dealing with outerspace at all.

I was under the impression that it had more to do with how the horizontal gravity vector actually pushes the water horizontally to where the furtherest and closest points to the moon are? Thus the water bulges due to being pushed sideways along the Earth to where the both high tides are. Thank you for the valuable information.

I had an argument with someone once, about what caused tides. While I did not have nearly the breadth of information that you did, my answer was basically "the moon and gravity". There response was that gravity isn't strong enough and the moon isn't big enough to cause that much of a chance.

I was under the impression that it had more to do with how the horizontal gravity vector actually pushes the water horizontally to where the furtherest and closest points to the moon are? Thus the water bulges due to being pushed sideways along the Earth to where the both high tides are. Thank you for the valuable information

I always knew that tides occurs twice in a day but never knew that its because of the gravity depending on how far our earth is. Its really amazing to know and understand nature in a scientific way.I was under the impression that it had more to do with how the horizontal gravity vector actually pushes the water horizontally to where the furtherest and closest points to the moon are? Thus the water bulges due to being pushed sideways along the Earth to where the both high

I always get the chills when I think for very long about the effect of the moon on the earth--actually, anything dealing with outerspace at all.

I had an argument with someone once, about what caused tides. While I did not have nearly the breadth of information that you did, my answer was basically "the moon and gravity".

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Waves aren't they endless likes flames in a fie place. Nature is amazing and ongoing. Tidal waves and your explanation is also interesting. Thanks for the post!

A very nice article about the tides. Especially with the good graphics everyone understands what´s the madder. I myself live on an island and see the course every day.

he changing distance separating the Moon and Earth also affects tide heights. When the Moon is at perigee, the range increases, and when it is at apogee, the range shrinks. Every 7½ lunations (the full cycles from full moon to new to full), perigee coincides with either a new or full moon causing perigean spring tides with the largest tidal range. If a storm happens to be moving onshore at this time, the consequences (property damage, etc.) can be severe.

Without knowing anything you'd think that tidal behavior would be so hard to quantify, but when you take all of these factors into consideration and make mathematical models it makes a lot more sense.

This is a great article. I had this topic get brought up in a conversation the other day and now I know how it all works. Thanks for the great article and letting me share.

Great job with explaining tides. Its amazing how much we take for granted. After years of growing up in a fishing family, I would love to hear how the tides effect fishing. I'm not sure why, but

he changing distance separating the Moon and Earth also affects tide heights. When the Moon is at perigee, the range increases, and when it is at apogee, the range shrinks. Every 7½ lunations (the full cycles from full moon to new to full), perigee coincides with either a new or full moon causing perigean spring tides with the largest tidal range. If a storm happens to be moving onshore at this time, the consequences (property damage, etc.) can be severe.

This is a great article. I had this topic get brought up in a conversation the other day and now I know how it all works. Thanks for the great article and letting me share.

Destruction of the environment for financial profit needs to be made 100% illegal, with severe penalties for violators.
Nice post, harming our environment is like doing bad to yourself. So should protect it, love it.

By wooden toys (not verified) on 08 Oct 2012 #permalink

I am glad to sharing your thing, let me know so much about your information .

By Pakistan hyderabad (not verified) on 09 Dec 2012 #permalink

Are you sure of all your facts? New information coming out from Thomas Watson of Australia. See interview at Its Rainmaking Time, "Magnetism and Climate Change". Stunning stuff questioning Newton & Einsteinian physics. Magnetism may what 'gravity' is is really about.

The face of the moon has a positive charge and the Northern hemisphere a negative charge (pos-neg attract causing greater tides and the Earth and Moon are attracted to each other at a full moon and they are closest they will be)
- and the Southern Hemisphere has a positive charge (pos-pos repel causing lesser tides as the Earth and Moon are repelled from each other at a new moon though to moon is over T of Capricorn, it is the furthest away from the earth is ever is in a month).

"The two times that correspond to Moonrise and Moonset are your two low tides per day. And the closer to the equator you are, the more severe your tides are, while the closer to the poles you are, the less drastic your tides are!."

I'm no scientist, but I do possess some basic powers of observation, and have worked on boats both near the equator and in the arctic. Tidal activity is very weak near the equator, and fierce in the arctic. Bay of Fundy ring any bells at least? I would check my sources if I were you.

Hawser, the bay of fundy is special not because the tide is higher but because the coast collects a wide swathe of water being moved by the tide.

What happens if you collect a lot of stuff in one place?

It piles up.

That isn't the tide doing it, though, even if the stuff being collected is moved by the tide.

I would check my intuition if I were you.

Some of the information is way off. For example, low tide does NOT correspond to the time of moonrise or moonset. The low tide occurs several hours AFTER. There is other misinformation. Tides are much more complicated than presented, and it's impossible to generalize about tides being more or less extreme according to distance from the equator. Total tidal change in Hawai'i is rarely over two feet; while on the West Coast of the U.S.--much farther from the equator--total tidal changes of 6-8 feet are common. There are areas in the Mediterranean with ZERO tidal change, and nearby areas may have 6 feet of change.

Another idiot who doesn't know that coastlines exist...

wow tides are awsome :)

By alexis tucker (not verified) on 31 May 2013 #permalink

thanks so helpful for a simple yr 8 like me :)

That is so interesting and useful knowledge.
Thank you

The water levels do not only appear to rise and to fall. They actually do.

By frank burns (not verified) on 20 Sep 2013 #permalink

Excellent explanation. Thank you

By Garry Douglas (not verified) on 14 Dec 2013 #permalink

Hi all, The tide explanations are incomplete...what causes the bulge of the sea on the opposite side when the Sun and Moon is on the same side?...see Charlie's question of #66 July 23, 2010.

By Andy swanepoel (not verified) on 18 Oct 2014 #permalink

Hi all,
There is a sea beach in India where water recedes by 4-5 kms during low tide and then comes back during high tide. The sea vanishes right in front of your eyes and then observing its return is a very rare site. You could totally relate the above described phenomenon.

By Chetan Gupta (not verified) on 31 May 2015 #permalink

Thank you so much, this is exactly what I was searching for. This is wonderful. Thanks agin.

Andy, your question was answered.

it's help me

By little Tamanna (not verified) on 14 Sep 2015 #permalink

I have noticed, I think, regarding the tides in San Diego. The highest daily tide usually occurs in the morning from Sept. to June and then in the afternoon/evening from June to Sept. Does this have something to do with the equinoxes or does it just happen, or some other explanation, or do I just notice wrong. Thanks

By Gary Keefer (not verified) on 23 Oct 2015 #permalink

As per my view tide is not occur dur to moon or sun but Water has Diamagnetic property which means that it exerts a weak magnetic field Diamagnetism refers to an object's tendency to generate a weak magnetic field in opposition to a magnetic field applied to it. A strong magnet placed near a diamagnetic object can cause the object to levitate; the diamagnetic object repels or attract the magnetic field, causing the object to move in the opposite direction of the external magnet The addition of salt lessens water's diamagnetic properties. But Salt strengthens water's ability to conduct electricity (magnetism can also produce through conductor and electricity) Salt strengthens water's ability to conduct electricity. When a electromagnet is placed near salt water, it creates a moving magnetic field in the water due to salt water's conductive properties. The salt water then creates an opposing magnetic field. This creates water turbulence as we all know earth has magnetic north pole and magnetic south pole (i.e. Earth himself act like a Magnet) and magnetic field as now sea water has strong magnet near to it , it creates a moving magnetic field in the water due to salt water's conductive properties. The salt water then creates an either opposing or repulsive magnetic field. This creates water turbulence so due to this turbulence and all three [motion (as explain above) of the earth due to which we feel the strongest force of the universe the Gravitational force)] we felt High tide and low tide

By Anwar Kasmani (not verified) on 14 Feb 2016 #permalink

Im from 2017

wouldn't a spring tide where the moon is in between Earth and the sun pull on one side, why would it pull on the closer side but on the opposite push out? I hope someone can please explain to me the logic because physics say that it wouldn't happen like that.

Aidan, remember that the moon is pulling on the earth too.

So the moon pulls least on the water on the far side of the earth, more by the earth itself (since it is not on the far side of the earth!), and most by the water on the near side of the earth (since it's the closest bit).

So you will see the water bulge toward the moon and a bulge on the other side where the earth is leaving the water behind.