Monday, November 20, 2006

Seasons- Are they the same across Planets?

It is always hot!!! this is the statement made by people who live in the zones where the variations between the highest and lowest temperatures are not felt. The weather is more equable around the equator. However, the seasonal variations can be felt as we start moving away from the equator.

The days are shorter during winter than summer. We know the climatic conditions are reversed when we consider the northern and the southern hemispheres. This is because the earth is tilted on an axis. When we take the planets other than earth, they also do have equinoxes and a few of them do have marked seasons also. The seasonal changes depends on the how much tilt each planet has about its axis.

When we take mercury and Venus the tilt on the axis is negligible so their poles remain eternally on the verge of night. The Mars had a 25 degree tilt which is close to that of earth and hence has seasons quite similar to earth but longer than ours in duration. Mars takes almost twice the time the earth takes to go around the sun.

Jupiter has minimal tilt like Venus and hence does not experience seasonal changes. Saturn has the equinoxes like Earth but the intensity of sunlight is very less hence the effect of the seasonal changes felt is minimal although one can proclaim it has seasons.

Uranus undergoes dramatic seasonal changes. As the tilt on the axis is 98 degrees its poles face the sun for directly at a time for about 21 years. So either of the poles have the summer season for 21 years each. And for some shorter period of time the entire planet bathes in sunlight for the sun is directly on its equator. This is expected to happen sometime in May’2007.

Neptune’s seasons are pretty ineffective as Saturn. But, Pluto has a tilt of 58 degrees and each season on Pluto lasts for about 62 years. So Earth has the apt seasonal and climatic conditions for humans to survive.

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