Earth’s Mood Swings=Seasons


(Image via The Washington Post)

Jess Winkler, Writer

We’ve all witnessed mother Earth’s mood swings: how it’s sunny one moment then the next, trees are trying to uproot themselves with the help of the wind. How one day we could have 100-degree weather, then the next day snow is falling from the sky. Without a doubt, mother earth has her moments of anger or sadness, but I want to focus more on seasons and how the earth itself creates them. 

We all know the earth rotates on an axis, that was one of the first things we learned in science, but it is because of that axis that we get seasons. While you may think that earth is closer to the sun in summer, and farther from the sun in winter, NASA says that is incorrect. “…in the Northern Hemisphere, we are having winter when Earth is closest to the sun and summer when it is farthest away!” says Kristen Erikson. So if not that, what is the real reason?

Many diagrams show a pole going through the top and bottom of Earth, this demonstrates Earth’s axis and how it is not straight up and down. Most scientists agree that the most likely reason as to why the earth is tilted is because another planet collided with it. They estimate that this other planet was about the same size as Mars and that when it crashed into Earth, it sent debris into space, which formed into the moon, and pushed Earth into a tilted axis. The angle of which the Earth is tilted varies over time, but mostly the gravitational pull of the sun and the moon keep it around the same, only shifting by a degree or so. 

Now, the real reason we have seasons is because of that pole. When the top of the pole is closer to the sun, the sun is shining directly on the Northern Hemisphere and indirectly on the Southern Hemisphere. This gives everyone who lives in the Northern Hemisphere summer while people living in the Southern Hemisphere are chilling with the snow. As the Earth rotates, the pole changes place and can, therefore, give us different seasons. The solstices occur when the sun is the farthest angle of distance (Declination) giving us those long and short days, and equinoxes are when the sun crosses the celestial equator thus giving us equal times of night and day. 

So in conclusion, seasons are not, in fact, the result of Earth’s feelings towards certain months, who knew? In reality, seasons are the result of Earth being knocked by Mar’s twin into a tilted axis. It is because of this tilt that gives us our seasons, equinoxes and solstices. Due to the Nothern and Southern Hemispheres flopping back and forth from who has the sun’s direct light, different areas of Earth experience different seasons. Earth may have lost a fight with a small planet, but in the end, we gained the moon and four different seasons from it! To sum up, the tilt of the Earth is what we have to thank for our seasons.