It is all about the
tilt of the Earth's axis. Many people believe that the temperature
changes because the Earth is closer to the sun in summer and farther
from the sun in winter. In fact, the Earth is farthest from the
sun in July and is closest to the sun in January!
During the summer,
the sun's rays hit the Earth at a steep angle. The light does
not spread out as much, thus increasing the amount of energy hitting
any given spot. Also, the long daylight hours allow the Earth
plenty of time to reach warm temperatures.
During the winter,
the sun's rays hit the Earth at a shallow angle. These rays are
more spread out, which minimizes the amount of energy that hits
any given spot. Also, the long nights and short days prevent
the Earth from warming up. Thus, we have winter!
Isaac. Isaac Asimov’s guide to earth and space. New
York, Random House. 1991. 285 p. (Questions and Answers).
Ann-Jeanette. The New York Public Library incredible
Earth: a book of answers for kids. New York, Wiley,
c.1996. 186 p.
William A. Jr. 1001 Things everyone should know about
the universe. New York, Doubleday,1998. 353 p.
Luke. Earth. New York, PowerKids Press, 2001. 24
Jay. Astronomy: from the earth to the universe, 6th edition.
United States, Brooks/ Cole- Thompson Learning, c. 2002.
more print resources...
Search on "astronomy," "earth,"
"summer solstice," "weather,"
"winter," or "winter solstice.
in the Library of Congress Online
hours of sun / daylight
suns rays come in at a steeper angle, with fewer layers of
atmosphere to filter through.
Fewer hours of sun / daylight
suns rays come in at a shallow angle with more atmosphere
to filter through.
Winter in Yellowstone National Park. From the National Park Service Web site..
Fall colors at Blueberry Ridge, near the Weather Service office in Marquette, MI. From the National Weather Service Website.
"It's fun at Long Beach, Aug. 9, 1919." From Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress.