Perihelion

Earth’s perihelion will occur at 19:20HST today.

Sunrise over Georgia Strait
Sunrise over Georgia Strait

Perihelion occurs when the Earth reaches its closest distance to the Sun for the year.

It may seem odd to some the perihelion occurs in the middle of winter. One must recall that the distance from the Sun is not the cause of our seasons, that is the effects of axial tilt.

2019 Apsides and Seasons
Event Universal TimeHawaii Standard Time
Perihelion Jan 0305:20UTJan 0219:20HST
Spring Equinox Mar 2021:58UTMar 2011:58HST
Summer SolsticeJun 2115:54UTJun 2105:54HST
Aphelion Jul 0422:11UTJul 0412:11HST
Fall Equinox Sep 2307:50UTSep 2221:50HST
Winter SolsticeDec 2204:19UTDec 2118:19HST
Data from US Naval Observatory Data Services

Winter Solstice

Winter solstice occurs today at 16:28HST. Today the Sun will occupy the most southerly position in the sky of the year. The term solstice comes from the Latin terms Sol (the Sun) and sistere (to stand still). On this day the Sun seems to stand still as it stops moving southwards each day and begins move to the north. This is the first day of winter as marked by many cultures in the northern hemisphere. Alternately, this is the first day of summer for those folks in the southern hemisphere.

2017 Solstices and Equinoxes
  UT HST
Perihelion Jan 4 14:18UT Jan 4 04:18HST
Vernal Equinox Mar 20 10:29UT Mar 20 00:29HST
Summer Solstice Jun 21 04:24UT Jun 20 18:24HST
Apehelion Jul 3 20:11UT Jul 3 10:11HST
Autumnal Equinox Sep 22 20:02UT Sep 22 10:02HST
Winter Solstice Dec 21 16:28UT Dec 21 06:28HST
Source: USNO data Services

 

Apehelion

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

It may seem odd that we are actually at the furthest for the middle of northern summer, 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.

2017 Solstices and Equinoxes
  UT HST
Perihelion Jan 4 14:18UT Jan 4 04:18HST
Vernal Equinox Mar 20 10:29UT Mar 20 00:29HST
Summer Solstice Jun 21 04:24UT Jun 20 18:24HST
Apehelion Jul 3 20:11UT Jul 3 10:11HST
Autumnal Equinox Sep 22 20:02UT Sep 22 10:02HST
Winter Solstice Dec 21 16:28UT Dec 21 06:28HST
Source: USNO data Services

 

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 3rd, 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.

2017 Solstices and Equinoxes
  UT HST
Perihelion Jan 4 14:18UT Jan 4 04:18HST
Vernal Equinox Mar 20 10:29UT Mar 20 00:29HST
Summer Solstice Jun 21 04:24UT Jun 20 18:24HST
Apehelion Jul 3 20:11UT Jul 3 10:11HST
Autumnal Equinox Sep 22 20:02UT Sep 22 10:02HST
Winter Solstice Dec 21 16:28UT Dec 21 06:28HST
Source: USNO data Services

 

Winter Solstice

Winter solstice occurs today at 00:44HST. Today the Sun will occupy the most southerly position in the sky of the year. The term solstice comes from the Latin terms Sol (the Sun) and sistere (to stand still). On this day the Sun seems to stand still as it stops moving southwards each day and begins move to the north. This is the first day of winter as marked by many cultures in the northern hemisphere. Alternately, this is the first day of summer for those folks in the southern hemisphere.

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

 

Apehelion

Today the Earth is furthest from the Sun, a point called apehelion. We will be about 152,096,000km (94,508,000miles) from the Sun. Compare this to the 147,099,000km (91,403,000miles) we were at perihelion on January 2rd, a difference of about 4,996,000km (3,104,000miles) occurring throughout one orbit.

It may seem odd that we are actually at the furthest for the middle of northern summer, 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

 

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

 

Winter Solstice

Winter solstice occurs today at 18:48HST. Today the Sun will occupy the most southerly position in the sky of the year. The term solstice comes from the Latin terms Sol (the Sun) and sistere (to stand still). On this day the Sun seems to stand still as it stops moving southwards each day and begins move to the north. This is the first day of winter as marked by many cultures in the northern hemisphere. Alternately, this is the first day of summer for those folks in the southern hemisphere.

2015 Solstices and Equinoxes
  UT HST
Perihelion Jan 4 08:59UT Jan 3 22:59HST
Vernal Equinox Mar 20 22:45UT Mar 20 12:45HST
Summer Solstice Jun 21 16:38UT Jun 21 06:38HST
Apehelion Jul 6 12:59UT Jul 6 02:59HST
Autumnal Equinox Sep 23 08:20UT Sep 22 22:20HST
Winter Solstice Dec 22 04:48UT Dec 21 18:48HST
 
Source: NASA Sky Calendar

 

Apehelion

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

It may seem odd that we are actually at the furthest for the middle of northern summer, 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.

2014 Solstices and Equinoxes
  UT HST
Perihelion Jan 4 05:59UT Jan 3 19:59HST
Vernal Equinox Mar 20 16:57UT Mar 20 06:57HST
Summer Solstice Jun 21 10:52UT Jun 21 00:52HST
Apehelion Jul 6 02:59UT Jul 5 16:59HST
Autumnal Equinox Sep 23 02:30UT Sep 22 16:30HST
Winter Solstice Dec 21 23:03UT Dec 21 13:03HST
 
Source: NASA Sky Calendar

 

Three Almost Earth-Size Planets Found Orbiting Nearby Star

W. M. Keck Observatory press release

A team of scientists recently discovered a system of three planets, each just larger than Earth, orbiting a nearby star called EPIC 201367065. The three planets are 1.5-2 times the size of Earth. The outermost planet orbits on the edge of the so-called “habitable zone,” where the temperature may be just right for liquid water, believed necessary to support life, on the planet’s surface. The paper, “A Nearby M Star with Three Transiting Super-Earths Discovered by K2,” was submitted to the Astrophysical Journal today and is available here.

Exoplanet Shadows
This whimsical cartoon shows the three newly discovered extrasolar planets (right) casting shadows on their host star that can been seen as eclipses, or transits, at Earth (left). Credit: K. Teramura, UH IFA
“The compositions of these newfound planets are unknown, but, there is a very real possibility the outer planet is rocky like Earth,” said Erik Petigura, a University of California, Berkeley graduate student who spent a year visiting the UH Institute for Astronomy. “If so, this planet could have the right temperature to support liquid water oceans.”

The planets were confirmed by the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) and the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii as well as telescopes in California and Chile.

“Keck’s contribution to this discovery was vital,” said Andrew Howard, a University of Hawaii astronomer on the team. “The adaptive optics image from NIRC2 showed the star hosting these three planets is a single star, not a binary. It showed that the planets are real and not an artifact of some masquerading multi-star system.”

Due to the competitive state of planet finding, and the fact that time on the twin Keck telescopes are scheduled months in advance, the team asked UC Berkeley Astronomer, Imke de Pater to gather some data during her scheduled run.

Continue reading “Three Almost Earth-Size Planets Found Orbiting Nearby Star”