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The tilt of the Earth is the main factor that determines the seasons. It's also true that the eccentricity of Earth's orbit is very close to zero, implying that aphelion and perihelion distances are relatively close. If the eccentricity of Earth's orbit were close to but less than one, then would the distance between the Earth and the Sun become a dominant factor in determining the seasons?

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    $\begingroup$ Related question here with some good answers: astronomy.stackexchange.com/questions/1184/… And you wouldn't need to push the eccentricity close to 1 at all. An eccentricity of 0.2 would give 2.25 times the solar energy at Perihelion than Aphelion which should be enough to overtake the tilt and govern the seasons. An eccentricity of 0.3 would certainly overtake the tilt with the possible exception of perhaps the very Northern and Southern tips of the planet where the sun would still stay out for months then set for months. $\endgroup$ – userLTK Oct 13 '17 at 7:04
  • $\begingroup$ Interesting question, but perhaps better worded as "is eccentricity or axial tilt the main factor in total irradiance?" Then consider that any planet sans atmosphere doesn't care at all about axial tilt. $\endgroup$ – Carl Witthoft Oct 13 '17 at 12:58
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Yes it would. If the sun was much further away the season on earth would certainly be more winter-like. The reason distance is not the deciding factor for earth is the variation in distance is fairly small.

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