Seasons | The Earth-sun-moon system | Middle school Earth and space science | Khan Academy | Summary and Q&A

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March 17, 2022
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Seasons | The Earth-sun-moon system | Middle school Earth and space science | Khan Academy

TL;DR

Earth's distance from the sun does not determine the seasons; instead, the axial tilt of the Earth is responsible.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What is the main theory behind Earth's seasons?

The main theory is that Earth's axial tilt causes different parts of the planet to receive sunlight at different angles, resulting in the seasons.

Q: Does Earth's distance from the sun affect the seasons?

No, contrary to popular belief, Earth's distance from the sun does not determine the seasons. The Northern Hemisphere experiences summer when it is actually farthest from the sun.

Q: Why do the Northern and Southern Hemispheres have opposite seasons?

The seasons are opposite in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres because when one hemisphere is pointed towards the sun, the other hemisphere is pointed away from it.

Q: How does Earth's axial tilt impact the intensity of sunlight?

The tilt causes sunlight to hit the Earth's surface at different angles. When the sun is directly overhead, the sunlight is more intense, while when it is at an angle, the sunlight is spread out over a larger surface area, resulting in less intensity.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Earth's distance from the sun does not explain the seasons since the Northern and Southern Hemispheres experience opposite seasons.

  • The main reason for seasons is Earth's axial tilt, which causes sunlight to hit the Northern and Southern Hemispheres at different angles.

  • When the Northern Hemisphere is pointed towards the sun, it is summer, while when it is pointed away, it is winter.

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