The Earth in its orbit at the solstices and equinoxes.
Click on image for full size
The Seasonal Merry-Go-Round
As the Earth travels around the Sun, it remains tipped over in the
same direction, towards the star Polaris. This means that sometimes
the top half of the Earth is pointing towards the Sun
), and sometimes it is pointing away
Did you notice that when the northern (top) half of the Earth is
pointing towards the Sun, the southern (bottom) half is pointing away?
This is why people in North America, Europe, Asia, and other places
north of the equator have the opposite season
of people in South
America, Australia, and other places south of the equator.
Halfway in between the times when the Earth is pointing towards or
away from the Sun, both parts of the Earth get almost equal amounts
of sunlight. These times occur about halfway between summer and
winter, so you might guess what we call them...
spring and autumn!
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