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What causes the seasons to change? The first answer many people give when asked why the Earth gets cold in the winter and warm in the summer is because the Earth’s distance from the sun can vary during its orbit. Astronomers have carefully measured the distance between the Earth and Sun and have discovered that the Earth is closest to the Sun in January, and farthest away in July.But wait a second! January is the peak of winter in the Northern hemisphere, and July is the peak of summer. There is another with the distance/season misconception: Why is it that when it is summer in the Northern hemisphere, it is winter in the Southern hemisphere? Something else besides varying distances from the sun must be causing the seasons.Eventually, humans figured out that the varying seasons were caused by the earth’s tilt in combination with its orbit around the sun. You might have learned that the Earth spins like a top. It does not spin straight up and down, though—it spins at a 23 ½ degree tilt. The imaginary line that the earth is spinning around on is called its axis. When the top of the Earth is tilted towards the sun, it is summer in the northern hemisphere. Since the bottom half of the Earth (the southern hemisphere) is tilted away from the sun, it’s winter there.

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Fecha publicación: 12.5.2016

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