So far and yet so hot
July 3rd marks aphelion, the day the Earth is the greatest distance from the Sun. So, why is it so hot in the northern hemisphere? Well, because the seasons have nothing to do with Earth's distance from the Sun!

What does cause the seasons, then? Summer Solstice (the longest day) just occurred on June 21st and the northern hemisphere is experiencing long days and short nights in the heart of summer. That's part of the reason for the seasons! But that's not all. The image above gives another clue.

The angle of the Sun's rays is more direct on the northern hemisphere in the summer months. That just means the sun is climbing higher in the sky at noon instead of coming in at a shallow angle (less direct) like it does in winter. For young children, an easy way to remember why July is hotter than January is this simple rhyme:

It's the length of days
And the angle of the rays!

If you'd like more information, see this quick explanation at NASA's Space Place. Happy Summer! 

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