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Bad Astronomy

A White Christmas for the Red Planet

25 Dec 2018, 14:00 UTC
A White Christmas for the Red Planet ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

Did you know Mars has seasons similar to Earth's? The reason we have seasons is that the Earth is tilted; its rotation axis is tipped with respect to its orbit (what we call the obliquity) by about 23.5°. Mars is tipped by about 25°, so it has seasons pretty much like we do.

But then, Mars's orbit is almost twice as long as ours, so its seasons are almost twice as long, too. If you like winter, then Mars is the place for you. Bonus: It's farther from the Sun, so it gets colder! And if you live near its poles, why then you can have winter all year 'round.

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