Far, far away

Aphelion Day 2021: Here's when the Earth will be furthest from the Sun

NASA via Giphy

NASA via Giphy

About two weeks after the summer solstice, the Earth reaches the spot in its orbit where it’s furthest from the sun.

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This point is called aphelion, and Earth will reach it on July 5 this year.

Since our home planet travels in a lopsided, oval-shaped orbit, this phenomenon only happens once annually.

ESA via Giphy

Giphy

The other notable point is perihelion, where the Earth is closest to the sun.

That happens in January — about two weeks after the winter solstice.

During aphelion, the sun will appear slightly farther away than normal.

But don’t stare directly into it to try to spot a difference!

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Giphy

Subtle changes in the sun’s size are invisible to the naked eye. It’s simply not worth frying your corneas.

And remember: the seasons are mainly influenced by the Earth’s tilt, not the point in its orbit. So don’t expect a notable change in temperature.

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The exact time Earth will reach aphelion this year is 6:27 PM, EST.

Giphy

Shutterstock

We’ll be 3.4 percent further away from the sun than we were at perihelion, according to NASA.

GIF CALENDAR via Giphy

It’s not that big of a difference. But kind of like the solstice, it’s another notable day for the Solar System that you can mark on your calendar.

Read more stories about science here.

NASA via Giphy