A query about the Earth axis

DAgent

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This might not be the right section to post this question, but I reckon this is more likely to be seen by those who have a better grasp of this kind of query. If its the wrong place, oops, my bad, sorry.

I'm wondering what would happen if the Earth's axis had a tilt of 50 degrees, with the north pole facing the sun.

I imagine the southern hemisphere would be mostly covered in darkness and a good deal of the northern hemisphere would never see night time again. I'm also guessing this would end up scorching up a lot of the land mass nearer the north pole and even melt the artic itself, causing a massive rise in sea levels and see a lot of coastal areas destroyed with flooding.

I might be very wrong about all of that, but I do wonder what life around the equator might be like, and even how this might affect the seasons and the people living in all these areas.

Would the southern pole and the seas around the Antarctic end up being more frozen than anything else? Would that area ever see any daylight?
 
Without checking details, off the top of my head, you are forgetting to include whatever causes such a major tilt - does Earth get nudged by the moon falling out of orbit, for example - such an event, whatever it would be, adds far more concerns to just dark/light and cold/hot.

Or, you might imagine an alternate universe scenario in which Earth was always tilted thus - for example during the Theia collision which formed our moon in the first place. In which case, we wouldn’t know any different. The unpopulated Antarctica would simply be much larger than it is. Mankind would mostly be a tropical species.
 
If the rotation of the earth stayed spinning the same way it is now (I don't know enough physics to understand how likely that would be because you'd have to counteract the force of gravity wanting to spin the planet along the other axis for millions of years.) then in the end you would have only a band of livable space. Our north pole, which would be pointed at the sun would likely too hot to be conducive to life, and anything below the equator would live in near total darkness and what would be really frigid temperatures.
 
In order for the north pole to remain a 'pole', the Earth would need to spin on the same axis. Then, I think you will end up with a situation like the planet Uranus. The north pole only points to the sun at one point in its orbit, and 6 months later the south pole will point at the sun. You have to introduce a whole new rotational element to keep the north pole pointed at the sun, and then, it would likely not be a pole anymore.
 
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Yeah, I don't know what keeps the earth stable on it's tilt all the way around, but I imagine that it is the small degree of tilt we have. Increase the tilt and the gyroscopic forces will cause the planet to preces and the poles to rotate faster than once per year. But keep in mind that the earth currently doesn't point the pole at the sun all year, but once a year. So having the pole always pointing at the sun is very different.

Planets that point one side at the sun, polar or not, are going to cook on that side and freeze solid on the other. The question is whether the terminator (or equator in this case) would be liveable, or just a chaos of storms and volcanoes from the temperature differential.
 
The Earth would still orbit the sun, so there would still be seasons. In summer the north would be more dramatically tilted towards the sun, so a greater proportion of the northern hemisphere would see daylight thoughtout the 24 hour day. The Tropic of Cancer would be moved northward increasing the intensity of the mid day sun at more northerly places. All would be reversed in winter. The differences in the seasons would be more dramatic. The differences between night and day less dramatic.
 
I might be very wrong about all of that,

The direction of the axis of rotation of the Earth 'effectively'* remains constant as the Earth orbits the sun. It does not continually point towards the Sun - we are not tidally locked, being too far away for that to occur.

See this image (might be a bit small, sorry!):

Seasons2.jpeg


As the Earth orbits the Sun the axis of rotation is always at the same angle relative to the orbital plane and always points in the same direction, no matter where the Earth is in its orbit.

Hence if the tilt was 50 degrees, essentially the summers and winters of the both hemispheres above and below the tropics would be more extreme. 40 degrees North, for example is Ankara, Turkey. Thus at the very height of northern hemisphere summer, this place would not have a night. Conversely during the height of winter, Ankara would not have a day.

For a place like, say Edinburgh at approximately 56 degree North, that means that a certain proportion of the summer would be nightless, and a certain proportion of the summer would be dayless. (I could probably work it out very roughly...but I'm outta time!)

This means higher summer temperatures and lower winter temperatures, the closer you get to the poles. Effectively.

For the tropics, this takes some heat out of their 'system', as the Sun spends less time there at 'full force' , but they should still have a dry and a rainy season, I guess, just less pronounced than what we observe today. In fact I think because the 'tropic band' kinda increases in size, and the average heat absorbed per unit area drops, there would be less rain at the equator/inside the topics, hence jungle and rainforest biomes would tend to dry out? A quick guess!

Of course because of the specific geography of the Earth, such a change in tilt will also have effects on overall climate, - see for example discussion on Milankovitch cycles (a result of all the various orbital mechanics the Earth exhibits, including precession as mentioned below) and how they might, induce warm phases and ice ages. How a 50 degree tilt would influence such things....would probably need a powerful computer to run simulations. It's not obvious to me if the Earth would be more likely to go hot house or go ice age. There are, obviously other factors having a say on this too....


================================

* of course the axis of rotation precesses over time, around like a gyroscope, and the angle that the axis makes with the orbital plane also moves between 22.1 and 24.5 degrees, but these processes are slow, over thousands of years.
 
* of course the axis of rotation precesses over time, around like a gyroscope, and the angle that the axis makes with the orbital plane also moves between 22.1 and 24.5 degrees, but these processes are slow, over thousands of years.

That does depend on where you decide to measure the angle from. By coincidence last night I found this in a 1950's (?) kids' pictorial encyclopedia:

tilt.jpg


Which threw me for a moment. "Sixty-six degrees? I thought the earth was tilted at twenty-three (and a bit) degrees..."

Then I did the simple maths. 66 (and possibly a bit) + 23 (and a bit) = 90 (give or take a bit).

I wondered when the 23 degree angle became the more common/standard way of expressing it. Then I remembered some flat earth youtuber's AHA! moment as he conclusively proved the evilness of the globist conspiracy when he too did the maths. He took 23.4 away from 90 and came up with.... (three dramatic chords please) 66.6

The Number of the Beast shifted one decimal place!

Thus proving the 'globe earth model' earth was 10% evil - or something. I really had no idea what he was trying to do.
 
That does depend on where you decide to measure the angle from. By coincidence last night I found this in a 1950's (?) kids' pictorial encyclopedia:

View attachment 116884

Which threw me for a moment. "Sixty-six degrees? I thought the earth was tilted at twenty-three (and a bit) degrees..."

Then I did the simple maths. 66 (and possibly a bit) + 23 (and a bit) = 90 (give or take a bit).

I wondered when the 23 degree angle became the more common/standard way of expressing it. Then I remembered some flat earth youtuber's AHA! moment as he conclusively proved the evilness of the globist conspiracy when he too did the maths. He took 23.4 away from 90 and came up with.... (three dramatic chords please) 66.6

The Number of the Beast shifted one decimal place!

Thus proving the 'globe earth model' earth was 10% evil - or something. I really had no idea what he was trying to do.
Yeah spherical geometry usually needs a cold towel around the head, even for the simple things :LOL:

I guess by convention latitude was first measured from the equator, which is where your 66ish degrees comes from...

...but with my astrophysicist hat on, rather than my geographer knotted handkerchief on, it feels nicer to relate the axis of rotation to the perpendicular of the sun-earth system.
 
The amount of heat transferred to the earth's surface is a function of time exposed and angle of incidence of the sun's rays. If we were at a perfect 90/0 degree tilt - Earth's rotation exactly perpendicular to both its rotation about the sun - then the equator would be at 90 deg incidence of solar energy to its surface, and the time would be 12 hours per day, each and every day. There would be no seasons.

Extrapolating from this, we can then assume with an extreme tilt, let's use 45 degrees instead of 50, due to it being half of a right angle, then you'd get about .707 (Root 2 divided by 2; 70%) angle of incidence (1.0 being orthogonal) at the "north" pole in the "summer solstice" and the same on the south pole during the "winter solstice." Right now, at 23 degrees, we're at about 0.4 angle of incidence on the north/south poles. We'd get 75% more solar energy, but since that's a square function, we'd be about 3 times hotter and, conversely, three times colder each "season."

I'd figure we'd have completely uninhabitable poles, being either extremely too hot (no liquid water; vapor) or too cold (no liquid water; ice), depending on the season. There would be a fairly narrow "Goldilocks" zone that's not too hot, and not too cold, which could conceivably harbor life. I would further speculate that storms would be much worse, so category 7 or 8 hurricanes would probably be similar in frequency to our category 5s.

The Tropics would be at the 45 degree point, just as they are at the 23 deg point right now. Using a sphere as the shape of the globe (close enough), then 45 deg would be the center of the "Goldilocks zone," and would be considerably shorter (the circumferential difference) than today's tropics. The tropic lines are where the sun's rays are perpendicular to the surface.

All of this is just speculation on my part. I'm not an astronomer, and I don't play one on TV. You're the writer, though, so you can make up your own rules. I would think that any tilt more than 30 deg or less than 15 degrees would significantly impact our climate.
 
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