Spring’s changes across milky way

Chloe Ward, Reporter

 Spring on Earth is a short, sweet period, known for its delicate blooming flowers, mentality of change, and pollen allergies. How is it we are the only ones to experience such a season? Well, the truth is, planets all around the solar system experience these changes too, just in slightly different ways.

     First, there is certain criteria a planet must fill in order to experience the effect of seasons. According to Dr. Sylvia Night, head of education at the Royal Meteorological Society, planets need to have a tilted axis to experience this phenomenon (bbc.co.uk). Based on this tilt, the severity of the seasons may be different. Earth is only tilted 23.5 degrees currently, however, this changes slightly over time, altering the intensity of our seasons.

     Some planets do not experience the season at all because of their lack of tilt, including Jupiter, Venus, and Mercury. The latter two instead experience constant heat, with daylight on Venus reaching 870 degrees Fahrenheit all year round! 

     On the other side of the spectrum, Uranus is essentially spinning on its side at a shocking 98 degrees. Of all the planets in the Milky Way, it experiences the most drastic changes. Winter lasts for 21 earth years and causes half of the planet to be “plunged in darkness” (worldatlas.com). Since the seasons last for several decades, not many discoveries have been made about the change in climate during spring. 

     However, Spring does include an actual daylight cycle instead of constant light or constant darkness. Also, a white cap appears on the north pole, contrasting the usual blue surface of Uranus. It is suspected that it’s just a byproduct of the drastically warmer climate.

     Some planets have similar tilts, so the Springtime will also have a similar effect on the environment there. Mars has a 25-degree tilt, but the seasons also last longer, with spring occupying seven months of the Martian year. Dust storms invade the surface, but like Earth, it is a period where the north heats up and the south cools. Also, with the recent landing of NASA’s Perseverance Rover, humanity will be able to witness the change into spring on mars with the most recent technology. This may allow for more discoveries on the change seasons bring on the foreign planet.

     Saturn follows suit in the temperature change, but the atmosphere shifts to more golden hues, as opposed to the bluish ones present in the winter. Spring here gives scientists the best visibility to the mysterious hexagonal storm lingering on the planet’s north pole (theatlantic.com).  

     Scientists are still learning about extraterrestrial springtime, and there are still unanswered questions. For example, according to Anne Verbiscer, planetary scientist at the University of Virginia, they still do not know how spring changes the planet Neptune, if at all. Neptune’s axis is at 28 degrees, so it is likely to bring strong changes, based on the results from other planets.