Aphelion Day: The Earth is now at its farthest distance away from the sun

Earth is the farthest away from the sun, but temperatures on Earth are actually at their warmest.

Michele Powers

Jul 6, 2024, 12:03 AM

Updated 18 days ago


Happy Aphelion Day! Did you know that the Earth is the farthest away from the sun right now? This may seem strange because it’s actually the hottest time of the year.
This little marvel is due to the fact that the Earth is tilted on its axis and our orbit around the sun isn’t a perfect circle. We are currently just over 94 million miles away from the sun and this point is known as “aphelion.”
The Earth’s orbit is an ellipse. At one endpoint, it is slightly closer to the sun and at the other, it is slightly farther. These points are six months apart and take place in early January and early July. The dates range a bit but can shift by about four days and the distance differs by just over three million miles. While this difference seems large to us, on an astronomical scale, it is actually very small.
How is the Earth farthest from the sun, yet it’s so hot? This has to do with the axial tilt. Without it, we wouldn’t have seasons. With a tilt of 23.5 degrees, the Northern Hemisphere is getting most of the direct sunlight right now. More sunlight equals warmer temperatures.
In another six months, Earth will be on the opposite side of its orbit but tilted away. Technically that would be three million miles closer to the sun than we are now.

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