Jim Gilbert's Nature Notes: Earth's closest approach to sun

  • by: Jim Gilbert , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 2, 2014 - 2:43 PM

Each year, sometime between January 1 and 4, planet Earth reaches its closest approach to the sun. At this moment, called perihelion, it is 3.1 million miles closer to the sun than on or near July 4 when the Earth-sun distance is 94.5 million miles (the latter moment is called aphelion). This happens because our planet’s orbit is not perfectly round but elliptical. Astronomers tell us that tomorrow, on January 4, 2014, at 5:59 a.m. CST, the earth will be only 91,406,671 miles from the sun.

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