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Why Do We See Summer?

Summer officially starts on Saturday, but why?

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — It's almost Summer in the Tennessee Valley. Given our recent weather pattern that may be a bit hard to believe, but it's almost here. Summer will officially start at 4:44 PM on Saturday June 20, 2020. 

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Some of you are thinking that's a day early, and you would be correct. Normally Summer starts on the 21st, but it's a day early this year because we had a Leap Year. In case you'd like to learn more about a Leap Year, click here

Seasons are great, but why do we have them? This blog will answer that question. 

Credit: WZDX Weather

It all starts with earth's tilt on its axis. Earth is tilted 23.5° on its axis. No, we do not feel this. The earth's tilt on its axis is one of the major reasons we see the seasons. 

Credit: WZDX Weather

The earth also revolves around the sun. Don't confuse this with the fact that the earth rotates on its axis. Two different things. Rotation takes 24 hours, and revolution takes 365.24 days. More on that if you click the Leap Year link. 

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The earth's revolution around the sun is another big player in our seasons. At different points during its revolution the earth is closer to or further from the sun. 

Funny enough, during the Summer Solstice the earth is furthest from the sun. The thing that offsets this is the fact that the earth is tilted towards the sun. The opposite is true for the Winter Solstice. Then the earth is closest to the sun, but tilted away. 

Credit: WZDX Weather

The tilt allows us to feel the suns powerful rays more directly. At this point in the year the Sun Angle is also highest.