Why Do the Days get Longer in Spring?
Olivia skipped her way down the hallway of the dance studio.
“I love to dance,” she said to her friend, Maddie, who ran to catch up with her.
“I can’t wait for the spring recital in a few weeks. We’ve got the best routine in the show!” Olivia stopped to do a few hip-hop dance moves. Maddie laughed and joined in.
“Olivia, it’s time to go,” said her mother, rounding the corner from the waiting room to find the girls doing their entire routine in the hallway. “I’m glad you love to dance so much but everyone is waiting at home for us so we can have supper.”
“Oh, okay, Mom. Bye, Maddie.” Olivia gave Maddie a high five and pirouetted past her mother and out the door.
“Heh, Ms. Lynch must have let us out early,” she exclaimed, looking up at the sky. “It’s still light out. Last week it was dark when we left. I could’ve had more dance time.”
“Oh, Livie. It’s spring. Haven’t you noticed the days getting longer?” Mom opened the car door. “Now jump in and let’s get home.”
Olivia buckled herself in and sat, looking out the car window at the early evening light. I love to dance, but I also liked to know why things happen, she thought. Why do the days get longer in the spring?
WHY DO THE DAYS GET LONGER IN THE SPRING?
The Earth spins around an imaginary line that goes through the North and South Poles. This line is called the Earth’s axis. The Earth spins around this axis the same way a top spins on its tip.
This spinning is what determines our day and night. It takes the Earth about 24 hours to spin around its axis. That’s why we have a 24-hour day.
While the Earth is spinning around its axis, it is also revolving around the Sun. As it revolves, the axis it is spinning on always points in the same direction– toward the North Star. So sometimes, the axis is pointing towards the Sun and sometimes it is pointing away from the Sun. It is this tilting and revolving around the Sun that causes our seasons.
When it is spring where you live, your location on the Earth is starting to get more sunlight as the Earth revolves around the Sun. This makes the amount of daylight longer for you.
The days will get longer and longer until the longest day of the year. That occurs on the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, which is in June.
So, get outside and enjoy the lengthening days of spring and summer.