Happy Aphelion Day!

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Today, the Earth reached its greatest distance from the Sun, a point known as aphelion.

We’re now 94.5 million miles from the sun. In six months we will only be 91.5 million miles away; or Perihelion Day.

The Earth is closest to the Sun, or at the perihelion, about two weeks after the December solstice, when it is winter in the Northern Hemisphere.

Conversely, the Earth is farthest away from the Sun, at the aphelion point, two weeks after the June solstice, when the Northern Hemisphere is enjoying warm summer months.

Due to variations in the eccentricity of the Earth’s orbit, the dates when the Earth reaches its perihelion or aphelion are not fixed.

In 1246, the December Solstice was on the same day as the Earth reached its perihelion. Since then, the perihelion and aphelion dates have drifted by a day every 58 years.

In the short-term, the dates can vary up to two days from one year to another.

Mathematicians and astronomers estimate that in 6430, over 4000 years from now, the perihelion will coincide with the March equinox.

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