The Day the Earth is Farthest From the Sun

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Aphelion Day is a special event that takes place once a year. On this date, the Earth is at its biggest distance from the sun. This point is called the aphelion. This Friday at 10:46, Earth finally reached that point. Our planet was 94.5 million miles from the sun.

Earth’s planet is elliptical and the sun is located 1.5 million miles off-center. Each planet has a point where it is closest to the sun, as well as a point where it is farthest from the sun.

Usually, the aphelion takes place two weeks after the June solstice takes place, which is also the first day of winter in the Southern Hemisphere and the first day of summer in the Northern Hemisphere. The first person who discovered that shape of planets’ orbits was Johannes Kepler. He was a mathematician in the 16th century. He discovered that orbiting objects are faster when at perihelion and slowest at aphelion.

We won’t be able to feel a difference on Earth. According to George Lebo, an astronomer at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, seasons are “shaped primarily by the 23.5-degree tilt of the planet’s spin-axis and not by the mild eccentricity of Earth’s orbit.”

During the perihelion in January the light was more intense compared to the sunlight that hit Earth on July 6, which is unusual. The reason for this is because the sunlight hitting the planet in July on the Northern Hemisphere has a lower heat capacity.

Ironically enough, while July is the hottest month of the year, this is when the planet is furthest from the sun. Additionally, January is a cold month despite the fact that planet Earth is closest to the sun. This happens because the water dominated hemisphere is facing the sun and water is able to store heat.

Patrick Supernaw

Patrick Supernaw is the lead editor for Great Lakes Ledger. Patrick has written for many publications including The Huffington Post and Vanity Fair. Patrick is based in Ottawa and covers issues affecting his city. In addition to his severe hockey addiction, Pat also enjoys kayaking and can often be found paddling the Rideau Canal. Contact Pat here