Quiz 2. Seasons on Jupiter and Uranus

Name: ________________________ Given 8/31 ID Number: ________________________

On the Earth, the seasons are due to our planet's axis of rotation being tilted by 23.5° with respect to the axis of our orbit around the Sun. (Think of the Earth's orbit as a circle lying in a horizontal plane; then the axis of its orbit is vertical, and its axis of rotation is tilted 23.5° from the vertical.)

What about other planets? In particular, consider seasons on Jupiter and Uranus. Jupiter's axis of rotation is only slightly tilted from the axis of its orbit -- the two are almost aligned. Uranus's axis is tilted by roughly 90° -- in other words, if the axis of its orbit is vertical, the axis of its rotation is horizontal.

Briefly describe the seasons on Jupiter and Uranus. Do they have the same sort of seasons, or are they different? Does either planet have seasons like ours? Does the Sun appear to follow a different path across the sky from one day to the next, as it does on Earth? Are there any places on Jupiter and Uranus where you could observe a `Midnight Sun' (assuming you could stand the cold)?

Joshua E. Barnes (barnes@ifa.hawaii.edu)
Last modified: August 30, 2006
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