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The tilt of earth’s axis

Grade 8 Science Worksheets

Why does the sun rise and set at different positions around the year?

Why are some days shorter than others?

Why do we have hot and cold seasons?

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The Earth’s Tilt

All these phenomena are explained by the tilt of the earth’s Axis (the imaginary line passing through the North and South Poles). In its journey around the sun, the earth is tilted from its vertical position in the same direction by roughly 23 ½ degrees.

When the north pole is nearer the sun, the Northern Hemisphere gets most of the sunlight, making it warm and creating Summer there. At this time the Southern Hemisphere is not getting as much light from the sun, making it Winter there. Six months later the position of the axis is such that the south pole is nearer the sun, making the southern hemisphere experience summer while the northern hemisphere has winter. In between summer and winter seasons, we get the Spring and Autumn seasons.

Notice from the diagram that, because the tilt is in the same direction at all times, one hemisphere does not permanently heat up with the sun’s rays and the other hemisphere does not permanently remain cold in darkness. If that had happened, life on earth would have been highly improbable.It would have been either too hot or too cold to sustain life uniformly on the planet.

The Sun’s Angle

The United States is in the northern hemisphere. When your hemisphere is tilted towards the sun, it is your summer season and you observe the following –

  1. The sun rises earlier and sets later
  2. The sun rises to a higher position in the sky
  3. The path of the sun is longer in the sky
  4. There are more hours of daylight on an average
  5. Your days are longer and warmer

You observe exactly the opposite in winter. The sun rises late and sets early, it remains at a much lower position in the sky, the path is much shorter, and you have shorter and colder daylight hours.

All of this is attributable to the tilt of the earth’s axis.

Check Point

  1. The earth’s axis is tilted by _____ degrees on average.
  2. Which of the following are due to the earth’s axis tilt?
    1. The seasons
    2. The daylight hours
    3. When the sun rises and sets
    4. All of the above
  3. When the southern hemisphere is tilted towards the sun, the northern hemisphere is experiencing ______ season.
  4. When the north pole is nearer the sun, the southern hemisphere is experiencing ______ season.
  5. Which of the following do you observe in winter in the northern hemisphere?
    1. The sun rises later and sets earlier
    2. The sun stays lower and for a lesser time in the sky
    3. The path of the sun is shorter
    4. All of the above

Answer Key

  1. 5
  2. d) All of the above
  3. winter
  4. winter
  5. d) All of the above

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