Reason for the Seasons

By: Punn Havananda

The Seasons of Earth

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The Inner Workings of Our Earth (Facts)

Earth, our home; ironically we know more about the stars than what we know about Earth. While the basic phenomena of Earth are easy to grasp, many the average American will not know them. “The reason?” you might ask. “It’s because no one bothers to ask.” I will say. This is a sad fact, and so I am here writing this in order to preserve our scientific knowledge.

So let’s begin with the simple stuff. “Why do we have night and day?” It is because our beloved Earth rotates once on its axis every 24 hours. We experience sunlight for around 12 hours a day in spring and fall and 12 hours of darkness in these same seasons. This causes day and night. We know that the Earth orbits the sun. When the Earth completes one orbit, this is called a revolution. For the Earth to complete one revolution, it takes 365 ¼ days. This one-fourth is why we have leap year every four years, and an extra day is added.

Our Earth has seasons. We generally experience 4 seasons unless you live on the equator or at the poles. These seasons are: summer, fall, winter, and spring. There are two reasons we experience these seasons. One is that our Earth is tilted on its axis by 23 degrees. The second is the earth’s revolution. Both of these affect how much direct sunlight an area gets. Like I said before some places don’t experience four seasons. Places like the equator or the north and south poles. They only experience one season forever. One the equator there is only summer, and at the poles there is only winter as well. The reason they do not experience change is because they are always getting the same amount of direct sunlight. Sure, there will be some minor changes in temperature, but they never fully experience a change in seasons.

People say that in the winter the days are shorter and that in the summer the days last longer. Well that is only partially true. In truth, the days in winter only seem to be short. This happens because in winter, the area only receives a small amount of sunlight while in summer; the area receives a large amount of direct sunlight. This means that they experience more sunlight in summer rather than in winter, hence summer having “longer” days.

A common misbelief is that winter starts as soon as December comes along, and another misbelief is that summer starts in May. These are clearly wrong, because we have exact dates for when summer and winter start. These dates are called solstices. There is the summer solstice, which is on June 21st, and the winter solstice, which is on December 21st. I know that there are some people who are saying “Why doesn't spring or fall have a solstice?” Well, they technically do, but they are different. These dates are called equinoxes, which means that the days have 12 hours of light, and 12 hours of night. The spring equinox is on March 20th and the autumn equinox is on September 23rd. At the poles during summer they always experience 24 hours of daylight. This is because the poles never directly face the sun, but can always see it. People at the equator always experience around 12 hours of day and night.

The Inner Workings of Our Earth (My Opinion)

Okay, down to the free answer stuff. People will wonder “What if the Earth wasn't tilted 23 degrees on its axis?” Well first off, the poles would be straight up and down (relative to north and south) if viewed from space. Second, the people of earth would only have one season, and that would be summer. This is because all of the area on Earth would be getting the same amount of direct sunlight.

The next thing people will ask you is, “What if the Earth was tilted a whole lot more than 23 degrees?” Well, this is just my opinion, but our seasons would be much more extreme. They would appear quicker and the temperature would be greatly varied.

Another question that might come across from the people with higher intelligence is “How did the Earth become tilted 23 degrees?” Well, one answer is that it formed that way, but we all know that things aren't just born that way. The most likely answer is that geographical phenomena changed our original tilt. These phenomena can be things such as high power earthquakes or volcanic eruptions. These slight things, over time, have been proven to change our tilt ever so slightly. This could cause a season change, temperature change, and much more. This is the most supported scientific answer to this question.

Now the less intelligent individuals might say, “But doesn't our orbit around the sun cause the seasons?” Well clearly the answer is no, but that question makes you wonder, “If we were closer to the sun, would that effect our seasons?” Maybe, maybe not, but I believe it would only vary our temperatures (if we are still in the Goldilocks-zone).

Another blockhead might ask you “Do your shadows change during the seasons?” The answer flat out is no. Just because you receive less direct sunlight in the winter, doesn't mean that you receive no sunlight at all. The sun will still track across the sky, and the length of your shadow will remain the same.

Finally, an intelligent question might come along, and it reads “How do plants and animals know when the seasons change?” The answer I believe is that these plants and animals can feel the difference is temperatures much more acutely than humans can. So when it begins to get cold, the plants and animals can feel it and “plan” accordingly (when I say plan I mean like to begin loosing leaves or go into hibernation).

Another (semi) intelligent question is “Would a faster rotation affect our seasons?” My answer is no. While it might speed up how quickly our seasons come along, it would not be a very noticeable effect.

This is the Earth I modified in my "The Seasons of Earth" picture.

About the Author

Hello, my name is Punn Havananda. I am a 8th grade student working on a science project. I'm sorry if my presentation is a little crummy. If you have any concerns please contact me via e-mail. Thanks!

-----------------------------------Punn Havananda