As the World Tilts

To what degree does the Earth tilt on its axis?

And the answer: 23.5 degrees.

When compared to the plane of its orbit around the sun, the Earth tilts at a 23.5 degree angle. According to NASA, this tilt changes during a cycle that averages about 40,000 years, varying between 22.1 and 24.5 degrees.

The tilt of the Earth on its axis is the force which brings us our seasons. As the Earth makes its way around the sun, the Earth's tilted axis always points the same direction. As a result, hemispheres receive varying amounts of light and varying weather patterns depending on the time of year. The gravitational pull of the moon prevents any shift to the precarious 23.5 degrees, so each year the pattern begins anew.

The closer to the poles, the more dramatic these changes become. In some northern parts of Sweden, Alaska, Iceland and Norway, summer months can bring nearly 24 hours of continuous sunlight. In winter, these same parts of the world live in days of nearly utter darkness, with some locations never even experiencing the rising sun from November to January.

The tilt of the earth is also responsible for reversed seasons in the southern hemisphere. When the northern hemisphere is experiencing the longest days in the heat of summer, the southern is tilted in the opposite direction, experiencing  the depths of winter.  

To learn more about the tilt of our Earth, check out the video below.

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