In the middle of August, with the heat making us sweat and our ice cream melt and fall to the ground, we have all asked ourselves this question. And we have all thought of this answer: it is because the Earth is closer to the sun.

Summer

Well, this answer is false. It is true that the orbit of our planet around the sun is elliptical, what causes that some months in the year we are closer to the sun king. But the distance to the sun has nothing to do with heat (keep in mind that right now it is winter in the southern hemisphere, and when winter arrives to us, they will be going to the beach and eating ice-cream).

What really causes this suffocating summer heat is the inclination of the Earth about the sun rays. As you know, our planet is a bit tilted in space (that’s while the Earth globe in your room is "bent"). This position makes the sun to illuminate us more from the above or more from a side, depending on the season. We can try this with a simple home experiment: if you place your hand with the palm open under the light bulb of a lamp you will feel some warmth, but if you tilt your hand you won’t feel it anymore. With the planet it is just the same thing, but on a much larger scale: in the summer months the sunrays fall directly on the Earth, while in the winter they fall sideways.

A quaint effect of this tilting is that on both poles there are several months in which it is night and as many in which it is day all the time... Due to the 23º inclination of the Earth there is always a side of their extremes to which no light or too much light reaches! But as they are located in the most tilted area of the globe there isn’t the same degree of warming as in the planet’s central areas, where sunrays fall more directly.

Now you know why these days are so suffocating. There is nothing we can do to change that ( we would love to invite you all to ice-cream), but it is always good to know why these things happen... furthermore, you can always tell your parents that you are going to reveal the secret of the summer to them in exchange for a soda.


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