June 21st marked the summer solstice – the longest day of the year and the official start of summer for us here in the Northern Hemisphere. What…

June 21st marked the summer solstice – the longest day of the year and the official start of summer for us here in the Northern Hemisphere. What better time for a planetary lesson? Many people, when asked the reason for seasons, say that the earth is closer to the sun during the summer and farther away during the winter. In fact, this answer is wrong. The real reason for why we get seasons is that the earth is tilted compared with the sun, so the sun’s light will always be spread out like a flashlight that’s pointed at an angle. During winter, the earth is tilted so that the sun’s light is spread out over a greater area, and like the same amount of lemonade powder in a greater amount of water, it is less concentrated, and thus colder. During summer, the tilt results in the sun’s light being concentrated in a smaller area, making that area warmer and more conducive to beachside activities. Whatever the reason, enjoy the warmth before we are once more tilted at the unfortunate angle that brings snow, ice, and damp socks.
– Will