Day is the day that the Earth and Sun are at their furthest distance
from each other. Every July the Earth is at aphelion, the furthest
from the Sun for the year and in January it is at perihelion, the closest
to the Sun for the year.
Printable Image *
orbit shown from above the Sun's North Pole; seasonal references
are for Earth's Northern Hemisphere, and would be opposite for
the Southern Hemisphere. Each year during the first
week of July the Earth is at the point in its orbit called
aphelion, which is its farthest distance from the Sun, 94.5 million
miles / 152 million kilometers.
2012 the exact time of aphelion is July
4 at 9:00pm PDT (04:00 UT July
5). On July 4 we are 94.5 million miles
away from the Sun, which is 3 million miles further away than when
our Earth was at perihelion on January
4, 2012 at
5:00pm PST (01:00 UT Jan.
5). We are so far away from the Sun in July that its light is 7%
less intense than it was in January!
you have trouble remembering the difference between perihelion and
aphelion, an old astronomer's trick is to recall that the words "away" and "aphelion" both
begin with the letter "A".
~ Perihelion and Aphelion
Printable Image *
The above image is a composite of two pictures that Luis
Carreira * took
ends of Earth's orbit: perihelion and aphelion.
When the Earth is at aphelion, the Sun looks a little smaller
Size in January and July
Amateur Astronomers, Inc.
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is it colder in January when the Sun is closer and hotter in July
when the Sun is farther away for the northern hemisphere? What's
the weather like in the southern hemisphere right now? The tilt of
the Earth plays a big role in answering these questions. Here's a fun
and simple explanation about the winter and summer Sun ... with
the following disclaimer!
one hemisphere have a hotter summer
and colder winter than the other?
expect northern summer to be cooler because it occurs when Earth
is farther from the Sun. Not so, explains Roy Spencer of the Global
Hydrology and Climate Center [Now known as the Earth Science
oceans and land on Earth are not evenly distributed around the globe.
has more land; the southern hemisphere has more water. This tends
to moderate the impact of differences in sunlight between perihelion
the land-crowded northern half of our planet is tilted toward the
Sun. For a given amount of sunlight, land warms up more than water
(in other words, land has a lower heat capacity). Sunlight is therefore
more effective at raising the temperature
of the northern hemisphere. This results in the surprising fact
that northern summer is a little warmer than southern summer even
though Earth is farther from the Sun in July. NASA's
Aphelion Day 2000
at Aphelion ~ A Global View
are a few more Earth/Sun
facts as well as a review of perihelion and aphelion. Here's a year
to year chart of Equinoxes, Solstices, Perihelion, and Aphelion.
Holiday and Holy Day
Our physical Sun conjuncts our spiritual Sun,
and we are free to travel the Milky Way!
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May your Night Sky traveling always be filled
with Celestial Delights and Treats!
Started in Astronomy
Includes a downloadable Moon map and bimonthly star charts.
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to Sky and Telescope's This
Week's Sky at a Glance.
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