Aphelion

Aphelion

Perihelion-Aphelion.svg

On the 3rd of July, at 22.11 ( Milan time – Italy) the Earth was at its greatest distance from the Sun. Astronomers call the point in the orbit where a celestial body is farthest from its focus “aphelion.”

We reach the greatest distance (152.6 million km), or aphelion, in July, about 2 weeks after the June Solstice, The word aphelion comes from the Greek words “apo” meaning away, off, apart and “helios”, the Greek god of the sun.

A common misconception is that Earth’s varying distance from the Sun causes the four seasons. But it is the tilt of our planet’s spin axis that is more important. Right now, it is summer in the Northern Hemisphere because the northern part of the Earth is tilted most toward the Sun (i.e. the north pole is directed toward the Sun) while it is winter in the Southern Hemisphere because the southern part of our planet is tilted most away from the Sun.

The Earth will be closest to the Sun, or at the “perihelion”, about 2 weeks after the December Solstice, when it is winter in the Northern Hemisphere.

 

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