A distance so far | Earth at aphelion


Wondering what might pull up at the farthest interspace?? It is earth at aphelion! On July 4, 2019, the blue planet, will be at the greatest distance of 152,104,285km (94,513,221mi) away from the sun.

What is aphelion?

All planets in our solar system revolve around the mighty sun in their respective orbits. These orbits are, to some range ‘stretched out’ circles or oval in shape and are referred as “ellipses”. It happens to be such that in an elliptical orbit, the sun lies not in the center but at a point called the ‘focus’ of the ellipse. The position of the sun at any of these foci creates two possibilities for the planet: a) to move closer towards it and b) to move further away from it. The point in the orbit of a planet at which it lies farthest away from the sun is called as the aphelion point.

The word, Aphelion is a grecianized form of modern latin ‘aphelium’. The ‘ap’ of aphelion derives from a latin prefix that means away from whereas hilion is based on the greek word ‘helios’ meaning sun.

Why do aphelion occur?

Likewise the orbit of earth is not a perfect circle rather an ellipse, with an eccentricity (deviation of the orbit from being a perfect circle) of 0.017, the sun will not be lying in the exact center but at any of the two foci inside the ellipse. By cause of this, the earth will be at times closer to the sun than at other times. When the planet, in the course of moving in its orbit reaches to the maximum distance away from the sun, aphelion occurs.

Now, the question which pops up is how much does aphelion affect earth and in what measures? We know that earth’s orbit is not perfectly circular but a little stretched out, so the distance varies perpetually all through the year. The distance of earth differs from its least distance (perihelion) which occurs in early January to its maximal separation (aphelion) which occurs In early july, few days after the summer solistice. Surprisingly, people think that the earth would have a higher temperature at perihelion and a reduced temperature at aphelion. But the twist is all to come, as a matter of fact the amount of solar energy that we receive doesn’t fluctuate much between perihelion and aphelion. Just so we know, the earth at perihelion is at a distance of 147,000,000 kilometers away from the sun and at aphelion it is about 152,000,000 kilometers away, so the difference in relevance is 5 million kilometers or say 3.1 million miles, which may for a time being put you in thoughts that this is why seasons occur. earth is at aphelion, and should be coldest. But hold on, you might be wrong. Aphelion-to be in July- middle of summers in the northern hemisphere! The difference in the distance is not the reason for seasons on earth but it majorly depends on the tilt of the earth’s axis. The 5 millions difference counts to only 3% , Not much to be considerate of right.? But still the distance somewhat has considerable effects. The amount of sunlight falling at aphelion is 7% less intense than it is at perihelion. De facto, strangely, the average temperature of earth is slightly higher by 4 degrees at aphelion. At perihelion, our pretty planet remains colder. Significant truth!. This happens because of more number of water bodies In the southern hemisphere than landmass in the northern hemisphere. Land in comparison heats faster and cools down easily whereas water has a high heat capacity and takes time to chill. Another notable impact of aphelion is duration. Earth at aphelion is farther away from the sun and due to increased distance it requires more time to cover up than it takes when it is closer to it.

Henceforth , buckle up your seatbelts , we’re going to be three million miles farther from the sun than we will be six months from now!

 

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