Take the 2-minute tour ×
Physics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for active researchers, academics and students of physics. It's 100% free, no registration required.

What is the most optimal earth's axial tilt in terms of variation of seasons? What would be optimal axial tilt for earth that life would exist and change of seasons would be at minimal level?

share|improve this question
1  
This is really a question of biology. Of course that life could adapt to greater or smaller (or no) seasonal variations, too. It would be a different life, after billions of years. The seasonal cycles are used by many animals and especially plants in various ways - but they're largely non-essential. Even the existing species could adapt to much stronger or weaker variability but they would evolve in a certain different way if exposed to the new environment. –  Luboš Motl Apr 26 '13 at 13:11
    
Uranus has an axial tilt of 97.77 degrees. I can imagine an exoplanet being discovered with a similar tilt. It would fall to physics to discover the tilt and then try to predict what impact this would have on climate. If the planet was otherwise earth-like there would be great interest to understand the impact of axis tilt on habitability. –  Mark Rovetta Apr 26 '13 at 16:36
    
<pedantic>The word "optimal" means "most favorable"---optimality can't be relative, either something's optimal (given some criteria) or it isn't. So "most optimal" is redundant. –  Ahmed Fasih Oct 9 '13 at 19:11

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

If Earth had 0 inclination to the ecliptic, then life could still exist and there would be no change in seasons. In fact, at latitudes greater than $-23.5^\circ$ and less than $23.5^\circ$, the seasons are already irregular compared with the rest of the planet; they have two points where the Sun shines directly on top of them, effectively making them have two summers. At the equator, there is practically no/minimal variation in seasons already.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.