Breakdown: Why seasons change each year

Published: Sep. 25, 2019 at 8:49 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - It is the start of a new season! We are moving into fall from summer and now getting one day closer to winter. Have you every really thought about what causes this shift in seasons? Well in the episode of the breakdown, we will explain the science behind Earth’s seasons.

Countdown to Fall
Countdown to Fall(WMC Action News 5)

Seasons are caused by the Earth being tilted on its axis by an average of 23.5 degrees. The Earth has an elliptical orbit around our Sun. When our Earth is closest point of distance to the sun in January its called Perihelion, and the furthest point is called Aphelion and that happens in July. This change is not great enough to cause much difference in climate on earth.

During the Summer and Winter Solstice, the Earth is tilted where the Sun is over the Tropic of Cancer during Sumer Solstice in June and over the Tropic of Capricorn during our winter months. In the summer hemisphere its opposite, meaning their summer is in December and winter is in June.

Autumnal Equinox
Autumnal Equinox(WMC Action News 5)

The Spring and Autumn Equinox occur in March and September. This means that the sun is directly over the equator. This means the sun’s energy is in balance between the northern hemisphere and the southern hemisphere.

During the Autumn Equinox, our days tend to get shorter as the sun is moving towards its position over the Tropic of Capricorn. That is why we start to cool down toward the winter months.

In addition, the change in season also affects living things, as trees tend to start losing their leaves and animals begin to prepare for hibernation.

As for humans, the change in daylight might have some people trying to adjust and limit those wintertime blues.

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