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Seasons

Seasons

Earth experiences four seasons: spring, summer, fall, and winter. This happens because our planet is tipped on its axis and the two poles point to the same directions in space all year. Summer occurs on the hemisphere that is tipped toward the Sun. The hemisphere tilted away from the Sun experiences winter.

© Judy and Paul Wilcox © Kofujiwara/Getty Images
© Marian Villareal Nebriaga © National Park Service

Our seasonal weather depends on where we live. Earth's distance from the Sun has very little effect on the seasons.
See the dates when seasons change.

The Reason for Seasons

The Reason for Seasons

The Summer Sun

Image pending The summer Sun appears high in the sky

During the summer months, the Sun's position in the sky brings warm weather, long days, and short nights. Earth's surface and atmosphere warm up because they receive more heat from the Sun.

In summer, the Sun appears high in the sky and is up longer. Its light falls to the surface at a very steep angle on the half of Earth that is tipped toward the Sun.

The Winter Sun

© Scott Yokie The winter Sun appears low in the sky

In the winter, the Sun's position in the sky brings cooler weather, with short days and long nights. Earth's surface and atmosphere cool down because they get less heat from the Sun.

The winter Sun appears low in the sky during the day on the half of Earth that is tipped away from the Sun. Sunlight streams to the surface at a very shallow angle.