Southern HemisphereEarth's southern hemisphere highlighted in yellow (Antarctica not depicted). Southern hemisphere from above the South Pole.
The Southern Hemisphere is the half of a planet that is south of the equator—the word hemisphere literally means 'half ball'. It is also that half of the celestial sphere south of the celestial equator.
Earth's southern hemisphere contains four continents (Antarctica, Australia, most of South America, and parts of Africa), and four oceans (South Atlantic, Indian, South Pacific, and Southern). Several islands off the Asian continental mainland are also in the Southern Hemisphere. Due to the tilt of Earth's rotation relative to the Sun and the ecliptic plane, Summer is December 21 through March 21 and winter is June 21 through to September 21.
- 1 Geography
- 2 List of continents and countries
- 3 See also
- 4 References
Climates in the southern hemisphere overall tend to be slightly milder than those in the northern hemisphere except in the Antarctic which is colder than the Arctic. This is because the southern hemisphere has significantly more ocean and less land. Water heats up and cools down more slowly than land. The southern hemisphere is also significantly less polluted than the northern hemisphere because of lower overall population densities (a total of 10 to 12% of the human population), lower levels of industrialisation, and smaller land masses (air currents run mostly west–east so pollution does not easily spread north or south).
In the southern hemisphere the sun passes from east to west through the north, although north of the Tropic of Capricorn the mean sun can be directly overhead or due south at midday. The sun rotating through the north causes an apparent right-left trajectory through the sky unlike the left-right motion of the sun when seen from the northern hemisphere as it passes through the southern sky. Sun-cast shadows turn anticlockwise through the day (sun dials have the hours in reverse). Hurricanes and tropical storms spin clockwise in the southern hemisphere (as opposed to counter-clockwise in the northern hemisphere) due to the Coriolis effect.
The Moon appears the opposite way up to how it appears in the northern hemisphere.
The southern temperate zone, a subsection of the southern hemisphere, is nearly all oceanic. The only countries that lie entirely within this zone are Uruguay, Lesotho and New Zealand. Countries lying partly in the zone are Chile (most of), Argentina (most of), Paraguay, Brazil, Namibia, Botswana, South Africa (most of), Mozambique, Madagascar and Australia.
The south pole is oriented towards the galactic center and this, combined with clearer skies, makes for excellent viewing of the night sky from the southern hemisphere, with brighter and more numerous stars.
List of continents and countries
ContinentsA famous photo of Earth from Apollo 17 (Blue Marble) originally had the south pole at the top; however, it was turned upside-down to fit the traditional perspective.
- Africa (approximately 1/3 of it - from south of Libreville in Gabon in the west to south of Somalia in the east)
- South America (mostly, south of the Amazon river mouth in the east and Quito in the west)
- South Africa
Note: The parts of these countries that are in the Southern Hemisphere are not part of the Asian continental mainland.
Indian Ocean countries
- Cook Islands
- Easter Island
- New Zealand
- Papua New Guinea
- Solomon Islands
South American countries
- American Samoa (USA)
- Antarctic and sub-Antarctic islands
- Bouvet Island (Norway)
- Chagos Archipelago (United Kingdom)
- Easter Island (Chile)
- Falkland Islands (United Kingdom)
- French Polynesia (France)
- Galápagos Islands (Ecuador)
- Jarvis Island (USA)
- Juan Fernández Islands (Chile)
- Kerguelen Islands (France)
- Kermadec Islands (New Zealand)
- Mayotte (France)
- New Caledonia (France)
- New Zealand sub-antarctic islands (New Zealand)
- Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands (United Kingdom)
- Réunion (France)
- Saint Helena (United Kingdom)
- Saint Paul island and Amsterdam island (France)
- South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (United Kingdom, claimed by Argentina)
- South Orkney Islands (Antarctic Treaty signatories)
- Swains Island (USA, claimed by Tokelau)
- Tristan da Cunha (United Kingdom)
- Territory of New Caledonia and Dependencies (France)
- Territory of Wallis and Futuna Islands (France)
Aurora australis appearing in the night sky of Swifts
Creek, 100 km north of Lakes Entrance, Victoria, Australia
Aurora australis appearing from Stewart Island at the southern point of the South
Island of New Zealand.
- ^ Merriam Webster's Online Dictionary (based on Collegiate vol., 11th ed.) 2006. Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc.
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