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ConcepTest: Eccentricity and Seasons

ConcepTest questions by David McConnell , David Steer , Walter Borowski, Jeffrey Dick, Annabelle Foos, Jeffrey Knott, Alvin Konigsberg, Michelle Malone, Heidi McGrew, Kathie Owens, and Stephen Van Horn


Mars has a more eccentric orbit of the Sun than Earth. Mars is 20% closer to the Sun during winter in its Northern hemisphere than it is during its summer. What would be the implications for the seasons on Earth if we had a similarly eccentric orbit with Earth being much closer to the Sun during winter in the Northern Hemisphere?

a. Summer would be longer than winter in the Northern Hemisphere.
b. Winter would be longer than summer in the Northern Hemisphere.
c. The length of the seasons would not be affected.

Student Responses:

No data yet. The correct response is A.

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References and Notes:


Physics:Astronomy:Solar System, Geoscience:Lunar and Planetary Science, Atmospheric Science:Climatology

Resource Type

Activities:Classroom Activity:Short Activity:ConcepTests

Grade Level

College Lower (13-14):Introductory Level

Ready for Use

Ready to Use

Earth System Topics

Climate, Solar System and Astronomy, Atmosphere


Solar system, Climate


Teach the Earth:Teaching Environments:Intro Geoscience, Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Planetary Science, Atmospheric Science, Teach the Earth:Incorporating Societal Issues:Climate Change