Earth's Seasons




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Why does the Earth have seasons? Believe it or not, the seasons are not due to the Earth's orbit around the sun, but the tilt of the Earth's axis. The axis is an imaginary line running through the center of the Earth. This axis, however, is not straight, it is tilted 23.5 degrees. Look in the top right corner of the picture above to see the tilt of the axis.

Because of the axis' tilt, different hemispheres (or halves) of the Earth tilt towards or away from the sun during the different times of the year.

Winter-The northern hemisphere, where we live, is tilted away from the sun. Because of this tilt, we get less sunlight and it is colder.
Spring-Neither hemisphere is tilted towards or away from the sun. The weather is not too hot or too cold.
Summer-The northern hemisphere is tilted towards the sun. Because of this tilt, we get more sunlight and it is hotter.
Autumn/Fall-Neither hemisphere is tilted towards or away from the sun. The weather is not too hot or too cold.

Places near the equator (the imaginary line running around the center of the Earth) do not tilt as much towards or away from the sun, so their seasons are less intense. The further away from equator a place is, the more pronounced seasons it will have.

Read more about the Earth's Seasons.
Play a Season Game.
Learn more at Observing the Earth-Seasons.
Watch this video about seasons.