This tutorial defines the relationship in between the Earth and the Sun and also how that causes the seasons, through questions embedded throughout to aid you examine your understanding. Answer to every the inquiries are top top the next page.

You are watching: What is the latitude of the vertical (direct) rays of the sun

To recognize why we have seasons, we must look at the relations between the Earth and also the Sun.

The plane of the ecliptic is the aircraft of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun.

Most of the planets in the solar system likewise orbit top top or near the aircraft of the ecliptic. (You deserve to see in the drawing below that the planets are more or much less lined up, rather of circling the sun at just any kind of old angle. No, this is not drawn to scale.)


The Sun’s rays room pretty close come parallel to each other once they reach the Earth:


So, if the Earth’s axis of rotation to be perpendicular to the airplane of the ecliptic,


then the straight rays that the sunlight would constantly shine top top the equator (that is, the angle the incidence at the equator would be 90 degrees), and also you would always see the Sun simply on the horizon in ~ the North and also South Poles (that is, the edge of incidence in ~ the Poles would be zero):


If that were the case, we would have no seasons.

However, the Earth’s axis is no perpendicular to the aircraft of the ecliptic. If you attracted a line perpendicular come the airplane of the ecliptic, the Earth’s axis of rotation would be tilted, or inclined, in ~ an edge of around 23.5 degrees with respect come the perpendicular line. The is this inclination the the Earth’s axis the rotation that is the reason for the seasons.

See more: Convert This Number To Scientific Notation 186 000 ? What Is The Scientific Notation For 186000


The planet maintains the same angle of inclination throughout its orbit. Another way of speak this is that the Earth’s axis is parallel to chin at all points in that is orbit.