Q:

Why is the Earth tilted?

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Quick Answer

Astronomers theorize that over 4.5 billion years ago, Theia, an object about the size of Mars, collided with Earth to create a tilted axis. This is called "the giant impact theory." Prior to this event, the axis was straight at 180 degrees.

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Full Answer

The theory holds that as Theia collided with the Earth, the mantle and elements flew into space, creating the materials for the moon. Scientists named Theia after the Greek god Titan.

The 23.5-degree tilt of the axis sustains life on Earth and produces seasons. Since the Earth rotates on an angle, no portion receives the brunt of the heat from the sun. Agriculture and many species rely upon the season changes from the tilted axis.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is the Earth's axis?

    A:

    The Earth's axis is positioned at an angle of 23.5 degrees away from the plane of the ecliptic. An objects axis, or axial tilt, also referred to as obliquity, is the angle between an objects orbital axis and rotational axis, or regularly, the angle between its orbital plane and equatorial plane.

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  • Q:

    What causes the different seasons on Earth?

    A:

    The Earth's tilt on its axis with respect to its orbital plane is the cause of the different seasons experienced annually. When the Earth is tilted toward the sun, it causes the summer season in that particular hemisphere. Winter is consequently caused by the Earth titling away from the sun.

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  • Q:

    How does the Earth move?

    A:

    The Earth moves by rotating or spinning on its own axis and by going around the sun in its orbit in a process called revolution. The Earth's rotation on its axis takes place at a constant speed of 1, 040 miles per hour and goes around the sun at a constant speed of 67, 000 miles per hour.

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  • Q:

    Why does the Earth spin on its axis?

    A:

    Earth spins on its axis due to the conservation of angular momentum. When two objects collide, unless they hit exactly head on, spin will be introduced to the system.

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