UCSB Science Line
Sponge Spicules Nerve Cells Galaxy Abalone Shell Nickel Succinate X-ray Lens Lupine
UCSB Science Line
Home
How it Works
Ask a Question
Search Topics
Webcasts
Our Scientists
Science Links
Contact Information
If you wanted to enjoy longer periods of daylight in the summertime would you head closer to the equator or farther from it? Why?
Answer 1:

For the longest hours of sunlight during the summer, you want to move towards the poles (away from the equator). Above the Arctic Circle, like in parts of Sweden or at the North Pole, for example, the sun never sets from June to July. However, in return, the sun never comes out at all for several months in winter.

The reason for this is because Earth is tilted 28.5 degrees away from its axis of rotation. If there were no tilt, everywhere on Earth would receive 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of night every day, regardless of how close or far to the Equator. Because of the tilt, however, the time each point on Earth spends in light and in shadow each day is unequal - areas pointed toward the sun get more hours of daylight while areas pointed away from the sun get fewer.

The length of the daylight hours is the most important factor in determining the seasons - summer has longer days and is thus hotter, while winter has shorter days and is thus colder. The distance from the Equator (latitude) determines how unequal the hours of daylight and night are as the seasons change. Areas near the Equator, between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, have little difference in daylight hours between summer and winter. This is why the changes in seasons in the tropics are mild. Areas further from the Equator have more and more difference in daylight hours, and thus have more distinct season.Above the Arctic (or Antarctic) circles, these extremes lead to unending summer days and winter nights.

This website provides more information on seasons and daylight hours:

click here please


Click Here to return to the search form.

University of California, Santa Barbara Materials Research Laboratory National Science Foundation
This program is co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and UCSB School-University Partnerships
Copyright © 2015 The Regents of the University of California,
All Rights Reserved.
UCSB Terms of Use