Earth at Perihelion

Today the Earth is closest to the Sun, a point called perihelion. We will be about 147,099,000km (91,403,000miles) from the Sun. Compare this to the 152,096,000km (94,508,000miles) we will be at aphelion on July 4th, a difference of about 4,996,000km (3,104,000miles) occurs throughout one orbit.

It may seem odd that we are actually at the closest for the middle of northern winter, you just have to remember that proximity to the Sun is not the cause of the seasons. The seasons are caused by the axial tilt of the Earth, creating short and long days throughout the year, with a resulting change in the angle and intensity of the sunlight.

2016 Solstices and Equinoxes
  UT HST
Perihelion Jan 2 22:49UT Jan 2 12:49HST
Vernal Equinox Mar 20 04:30UT Mar 19 18:30HST
Summer Solstice Jun 20 22:34UT Jun 20 12:34HST
Apehelion Jul 4 16:24UT Jul 4 06:24HST
Autumnal Equinox Sep 22 14:21UT Sep 22 04:21HST
Winter Solstice Dec 21 10:44UT Dec 21 00:44HST
 
Source: USNO data Services

 

Author: Andrew

An electrical engineer, amateur astronomer, and diver, living and working on the island of Hawaiʻi.

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