Item CL081002: Sunlight hits different places on the earth's surface at different angles because the earth is spherical.

Which of the following statements best explains why sunlight would reach one place at a 75° angle and another place at a 50° angle at a single moment in time?

  1. Sunlight travels from the sun to the earth along paths that are curved lines, which causes the angles to be different.
  2. Sunlight radiates from the sun in all different directions, which causes the angles to be different.
  3. Sunlight travels from the sun to the earth along straight, nearly parallel lines but the spherical shape of the earth causes the angles to be different.
  4. Sunlight travels from the sun to the earth along straight, nearly parallel lines but the tilt of the earth’s axis causes the angles to be different.

Distribution of Responses

Chart showing distrubtion of responses for Item CL081002

Percent of students responding correctly

Overall26%
Grades 6–825%
Grades 9–1227%
Male27%
Female25%
Primary Language is English25%
Primary Language is not English27%

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