Earth Truned Sideways:

Total posts: [5]
Okay, say on a random day... lets go with Dec 21 2012... the earth and it's axis began to move in unison. When they stop they are now facing 90 degrees (give or take, i know the earths poles aren't actuary at 90 degrees to the sun.) Basically, what if the north pole/axis faced the sun for part of the year, then as the year went on the equator would, then the south pole, then the equator again, then the north pole again. I did the math some time ago (and sense lost it) on how the days, starting on the equinox at 60 North, would grow longer and the nights would become brighter until it was just one long day over three months, then would revers until you had another equinox, then the same would happen with the night. The equator acted even odder as as the "long days/nights" would actually be twilight which would give way into continuous equinoxes marked only by shorting periods of twilight until you had a normal equinox. Could humanity even survive on this sort of a planet? what would the weather do? In think survival around the equator would be possible. Come to think of it, I should have placed this in World Building, Sorry. This is not Tidal Locked.

edited 1st Oct '10 4:50:16 PM by Lockhart

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2 pvtnum111st Oct 2010 03:43:48 PM from Kerbin low orbit , Relationship Status: We finish each other's sandwiches
weather patterns would be all screwy. polar ice cap melptin due to continual sunshine for long stretches of the year, shifts in the climate patterns and jet streams, ocean currents changing all over the place, and the fact that with as much mass as the Earth has, something happening to affect such a rapid change to the planet's axial tilt (it would look like Uranus now, right?) woudl probably be due to a huge asteroid collision or... magic.

Life would suck really bad for those near coastlines. And hey, who knows, after it all settled down to some new equalibrium, maybe you'd see snow on the Pyramids when Egypt is in winter. That would be a sight.
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3 MajorTom1st Oct 2010 03:45:12 PM , Relationship Status: Barbecuing
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Well it's safe to say the Caribbean is no longer a prime tourist destination.

Anyways climatologically, the Earth would suffer significant climate change (potentially even a mass extinction event level rivaling the Permian-Triassic event). The poles would become a rapidly shifting zone of extremes moreso than they are now. Meaning say you were in Prudhoe Bay Alaska, a 60F day is a heat wave normally. (It's not uncommon to have snowstorms in July that far north) Now in this situation it would teeter between having much more temperate temperatures in the summer (upwards of 80F or more) and uninhabitably cold in the winter (probably setting new records for how cold the planet can get).

A similar effect would occur in Antarctica.

Traditional mid-latitude continents will suffer significant climate change into a much more extreme pattern both hot and cold.

The tropics of today now basking in their newly eternal twilight (Damn you Stephanie Meyer for ruining this perfectly awesome word!!!!) would more or less freeze over and stay that way.
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4 pvtnum111st Oct 2010 04:37:44 PM from Kerbin low orbit , Relationship Status: We finish each other's sandwiches
Wait, is either pole tidally locked to the Sun in this scenario? If not, then the entire planet will get to see either total darknes, high noons and everything in between, throughout the year. Some regions would have less fluctuation, though. Living on poles would suck due to the extreme variation.

If you tidally lock a pole to always face the Sun, then you'll have the opposite hemisphere always in darkness and the equator always in twilight.

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5 MajorTom1st Oct 2010 04:41:08 PM , Relationship Status: Barbecuing
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That's a good question. If it's not tidally locked even a sideways planet would still receive sunlight on all areas.
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Total posts: 5