It is hard to believe with the record temperatures many cities are experiencing at the moment but the Earth is actually at its farthest point from the sun today.
The U.S. Naval Observatory notes that the Earth reached its orbital point called “aphelion” at 12 a.m. EDT on Thursday, July 5. That distance is approximately 94.5 million miles away from the sun.
The sun is typically 93 million miles from Earth however the Earth’s orbit around the sun is not a circle but rather an ellipse which means it has a farthest and a closest point. The suns closest point to the sun known as the perihelion is experienced in early January.
The sun during aphelion is 3,104,641 miles farther from the sun than during the perihelion phase. Despite receiving 7 percent less radiant heat during this period we continue to experience record heat. The reason for the continued heat is that the current warm weather is tied to the Earth’s 23.5-degree tilt which puts the sun above the horizon for varying lengths of time during the different seasons. The tilt of Earth determines how the sun’s rays strike each place on earth based on a direct or low angle approach to Earth.
According to Live Science:
“At the latitude of New York City, the sun’s direct rays on the June 21 summer solstice mean the city receives three times as much heat as it does during the winter solstice in late December. The reverse is true for the Southern Hemisphere, where it is currently winter.”