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Question:
According to Kepler's law the Earth is closer to the sun in the summer winter than in the summer. If this is true would not it be warmer in the winter than in the summer?



Replies:
The reason for summer and winter is not because of the distance from the earth to the sun, but because of the way the earth's axis is tilted. When it is summer in North America, it is winter in South America and the other way around. The reason is that the amount of energy hitting the earth's surface from the sun depends on the angle the sun's energy is coming from - the higher in the sky the sun is, the more that angle is close to vertical, and the more energy we are getting. This is a much stronger effect than the few percent change due to the distance from the sun changing, especially when you live pretty far form the equator.

Arthur Smith



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