Seasons. The ear t h ’ s a xi s , wi t h r es p ect t o the plane of i ts orb i t, is actua l ly t i l t ed a t an angle of about 23 . 5 deg r ees .
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Theearth’saxis, withrespectto the plane ofits orbit,isactuallytiltedat anangle ofabout23.5degrees.
Thistiltofthe axis is thereasonwehave different hours ofdaylightthroughoutthe year aswellas differentseasons.
During the summer,thenorthernhemisphere istiltedtowardthe Sun. Duringthewinter,thenorthern hemisphere is tiltedawayfromthe Sun.
Whenthenorthernhemisphere is tiltedaway fromthe sunduringthewinter,thesunlightstrikes the Earth at a veryshallowangle, spreads out, andislessintenseat any given spot.
In thesummer,whentheSunishigher inthe sky, the Sun’sraysshinedirectlyontothe Earth makingthe lightmoreintenseleadingtohighertemperatures.
Another way thatthe tilt of theEarth causes the seasonsistodo withhowlongtheSunstaysin theskyeachday
Inthesummer,since theSunishigher in the sky,ittakeslongerto travelfrom one horizontothe next. SincetheSunshines onthe Earth for a longertime period, the ground,air,andwater, becomewarmer.
Inthewinter, the Sun sitslowerin thesky, soittakeslesstimeforittotravel from horizontohorizon. Since theSunshines onEarth for ashorter period oftime,the ground, air,and waterstaycolder.
During the winter,sunlightdoesn’t reachtheNorth Poleat all.SotheSunneverrisesanditstays dark all day.
Bothpoles, the northandsouth, experience6months ofcomplete darknessand6 months ofcomplete daylight.
South PoleinMarchwithAuroraAustralis PhotobyPatrick Cullis,NationalScienceFoundation.
St.Petersburg,Russia,experiences18hoursof daylightfrom May untilJuly. They call thisperiod the “WhiteNights.”
Becauseofthe tiltofthe Earth, theseasonsinthesouthernhemisphere areexactlyopposite.- So,seasonsvarydependinguponthelatitude.