Our Tilted Earth

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It’s the end of March and I’m desperately wishing for spring, but spring has shunned us here in Iowa. I woke this morning to yet another 17 degree day with snow on the ground. Sigh.

And yet, I know someday spring will come, then summer and I’ll be popping the popsicles trying to get cool. How do I know this? Because God gave our universe order.

Many people think winter and summer change with how close the earth is to the sun. But this is incorrect. The earth tilts at an angle of 23.5 degrees (and is held at that angle in part by the moon). Whichever hemisphere is tilted toward the sun experiences summer. When that hemisphere is tilted away from the sun, it experiences winter. Interestingly, the Northern hemisphere, where I live, is slighly closer to the sun during wintertime.

Thanks to the gravitational pull of the moon, the earth’s tilt varies no more than two degrees. Without the moon, the gravitational tug of other large bodies in the solar system would cause the earth’s tilt to change over the years, fluctuating anywhere between 0 and 90 degrees. Think about what that would do to our weather, as the tropics and Arctic regions expanded and contracted. Would the whole world be in Monsoon season or waiting out the longest blizzard in history?

What if the seasons weren’t predictable? What if we never knew how long winter and summer would last? We might still survive, as humans did through the Ice Age, but it wouldn’t be easy. Endless winter would make growing crops almost impossible. And constant summer (like at the equator) would breed super bugs and disease.

Thankfully, the perfect tilt of our planet, stabilized by the moon,  gives us the diverse environments needed for life to thrive. Praise the Lord for making our home a predictable, constant and tilted place.

 

Reference: Faulkner, Danny. (Jan-Mar 2014). The Perfect Partner. Answers In Genesis, 9(1), 68.

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