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Image depicting The Earth is closest to the sun today - Perihelion Day

Perihelion Day – The Earth is closest to the sun today

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Happy Perihelion Day!

Today, the Earth is closest to the Sun – a phenomenon that happens at the start of every year. Or the beginning of every revolution.

  • As the Earth travels in an elliptical orbit around the sun, its distance from the star varies throughout the year.
  • Perihelion is a term that denotes ‘closest to the sun’. Here, the Earth will be 147,091,144 kilometres away from the sun.
  • This year, the Earth reached perihelion at 1:18 pm Indian Standard Time (IST) on Tuesday, 4 January.
  • Half a year later, on 5 July, the Earth will reach aphelion – its most distant point from the sun. Then, it will be 152,095,295 kilometres away from the sun.

Effects of perihelion

  • It is interesting to note that although the Earth is the closest to Sun at this time, it doesn’t feel warmer at perihelion.
  • That’s because Earth’s orbit is not ‘extremely’ elliptical but is almost circular.
  • Moreover, the seasonal changes on Earth are caused by the tilt in its axis.
  • However, the Earth’s close approach to the Sun causes it to travel slightly faster.
  • Which means a shorter winter in the northern hemisphere, and a shorter summer in the Southern hemisphere.

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