Asked by: Tom Rees, Leamington
Mars’s spin axis is tilted by 25.2°, very similar to Earth’s. Mars therefore has seasons much like our own, although since its year lasts about 687 days, seasons on Mars last almost twice as long. Martian seasons are complicated by the planet’s elliptical orbit, making the northern hemisphere more temperate than the southern hemisphere.
In the south, summers are hot and quick, whereas winters are long and cold. At the height of southern summer, temperatures can reach 20°C (68°F) by day but drop to –80°C (–112°F) at night. Even so, there is little ‘weather’ on Mars. Apart from the varying sizes of the polar ice caps, more common dust storms in late summer and the changing temperature, there is little to indicate the passing of the seasons.