Earth's axial tilt, illustration

Earth's axial tilt, illustration

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Credit: MIKKEL JUUL JENSEN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Earth's axial tilt, illustration. The Earth is shown in its orbit (white) around the Sun (Earth-Sun distance not to scale), with the Earth's axis of rotation and equator marked in red. The Earth rotates on its axis once every 24 hours, giving rise to the day-night cycle as the Sun rises and sets as seen from the Earth. The direction of rotation is anti-clockwise when viewed looking down on the Earth from above the North Pole, with the Earth's surface moving from west to east under the Sun. The equator and axis of rotation are tilted at an angle of just over 23 degrees. This axial tilt gives rise to the Earth's seasons as it orbits the Sun. This point in the Earth's orbit shows the northern hemisphere winter and southern hemisphere summer.

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