The reason for the seasons

From the Institute for Climate Education @ A-B Tech:  On June 20 at 7:09 p.m. EDT, we officially entered summer as people across the Northern Hemisphere noted the summer solstice. This event occurs when the Earth’s northern axis is at its greatest tilt toward the Sun. It is because our planet is tilted on its axis of rotation by about 23.5 degrees that we experience seasons. As you can see in the image below, the Northern Hemisphere is tilted toward the sun during our summer, and away from the sun during our winter. (Look here for the Winter Solstice e-mail from December 21, 2011 “Bring on the Light”.)

Image: NOAA

The result of the Earth’s tilt is evident if you take careful note of where the sun rises and sets on our horizon throughout the year. The panoramic image below is of the eastern horizon from a peak in Madison County, where I’ve been carefully watching the sun make its trek throughout the seasons. It really is amazing what a difference it is.

So, enjoy the long summer days. Both yesterday and today have the longest hours of daylight for the year in Asheville: 14 hours, 34 minutes and 4 seconds. Compared to the 9 hours and 45 minutes of daylight we see on the shortest day at the winter solstice, that’s a big difference – and reason enough to celebrate this amazing place that we live. 

Happy summer!


Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.