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Name: Sara
Status: student
Grade: 6-8
Location: NY
Country: N/A
Date: 9/25/2005


Question:
If a planet has a elliptical orbit explain why this would lead to seasons on the planet. How would these seasons be different from our own?


Replies:
The elliptical orbit does not cause the seasons, the polar axis tilt does. If the Earth had no axial tilt (ie. the axis being perpendicular to our orbit) then we would not get any seasons, as the Sun would travel around the equator all year.

The elliptical orbit does have a bearing on the length of the seasons as the Earth travels around its orbit faster at perihelion (3rd January) than it does at aphelion (4th July), but this alters the lengths of the seasons by only a couple of days.

Howard Barnes.
Astronomer.



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