Did You know…
The seasons on Earth are caused by the tilt of the Earth as it rotates on its axis and revolves around the Sun. The 23.5 degree tilt of the Earth’s axis results in changes of the angle of incident sunlight. A common misconception among students is that the seasons are caused by the distance between the Earth and Sun.
In fact, summer in the Northern Hemisphere occurs at aphelion, the farthest distance between the Earth and Sun, and follows summer solstice when incident sunlight is most concentrated along the Tropic of Cancer, 23 degrees 26 minutes 22 seconds North. The shortwave surface flux (irradiance) for many areas on the Earth has been measured by SRB, the Surface Radiation Budget project. For some locations, the monthly trend in surface flux will have a direct relationship with mean surface temperature.
The above is an excerpt from the Reasons for the Seasons, MY NASA DATA (MND), lesson plan. Lesson backgrounds are provided to prepare the student for the upcoming lesson. All MND lesson plans walk students, as well as teachers, through a step by step and comprehensive procedure .
The goal of this lesson plan is to provide students with the ability to correlate surface radiation with mean surface temperature of several geographic regions and analyze graphs generated by MND’s effective data visualization tool, the Live Access Server (LAS). By observing the graphs of these parameters, students will construct an understanding of the reason for the seasons.
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