How Do The Seasons Change?

Ever wonder why we have seasons? Learn more here.

Do you know why seasons change?

It’s all in the tilt!

While it may seem that the seasons are caused by the earth’s changing distance from the sun, it’s really due to the tilt of the earth’s axis. This tilt—a 23-degree slant-enables the sun to appear above the horizon for different lengths of time at different seasons. The tilt determines whether the sun’s rays strike at a low angle or more directly.

Imagine the earth as a spinning top that is tilted to one side. Due to this tilt, the angle of the sun’s rays changes. During the winter in the northern hemisphere, the earth is tilted away from the sun, so the sun isn’t very high in the sky. In the summer, the opposite is true, and due to the direct rays of the sun, the earth heats up more.

Check the Sunrises

Ever notice the change in where the sun rises throughout the year? This can also be attributed to this tilt. During the winter, the sun will rise in the southeast. As spring gets closer, the sunrise will move to the north. On the first day of spring, the sun rises directly in the east. During the spring, the sunrise continues to move north and rises in the northeast by the first day of summer. Then, it starts heading south again and rises directly in the east on the first day of fall.

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This article was published by the staff at Farmers' Almanac. Do you have a question or an idea for an article? Contact us!


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