The word 'hemi' means half and 'hemisphere' means half of a sphere.
The Earth is divided into different halves or different hemispheres:
1. The Northern Hemisphere
2. The Southern Hemisphere
3. The Eastern Hemisphere
4. The Western Hemisphere
The equator and the Prime Meridian
The equator is an imaginary line that runs through the centre of the Earth from east to west. It divides the Earth into a top half and a bottom half. The top half is called the Northern Hemisphere and the bottom half is called the Southern Hemisphere.
The Prime Meridian is an imaginary line that runs from the North Pole to the South Pole. It divides the Earth into an east and a west side. The east side is called the Eastern Hemisphere and the west side is called the Western Hemisphere.
Different countries are in different hemispheres and this is why they have different seasons.
When the Earth goes around the Sun, one of the hemispheres is tilted towards the Sun, while the other hemisphere is tilted away from the Sun. The side which is tilted towards the Sun will have summer and the side tilted away will have winter. Northern and Southern Hemispheres always have opposite seasons.
Have a look which countries are in each hemisphere and find out which ones have opposite seasons:
The Northern Hemisphere includes North America, Central America, the northern part of South America, Europe, Asia, northern Africa and the Middle East.
The Southern Hemisphere includes most of South America, most of Africa, Australia and Antarctica.
The Eastern Hemisphere includes most of Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and half of Antarctica.
The Western Hemisphere includes North America and South America and half of Antarctica.
Did you know?
- The Northern Hemisphere is made up of 90% land and contains most of the human population.
- The Southern Hemisphere is made up of 90% water and doesn’t have as many people.
- In both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, the Sun rises in the east and sets in the west.
- Stars are much brighter in the Southern Hemisphere. The ideal hemisphere for deep-space observation is the Northern Hemisphere because the view isn't covered by the strong light of the stars.