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Earth was as close as possible to the Sun this Tuesday (4)

The Earth reached its closest point to the Sun this Tuesday (4), an event known as perihelion. At perihelion, the sun appears 3.6% larger and about 7% brighter than at aphelion, when the planet reaches its maximum distance from the star.

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At around 3:52 am (Eastern time) on Tuesday, the Earth was 147.1 million km away from the Sun — on average, it is 149.5 million km away . In afelio, which takes place in July, Terra and Sol are 152.1 million km away from each other.

None of these events are responsible for the seasons of the year, as these occur due to the tilt of the planet's axis . Still, perihelion and aphelion may reflect their duration. The closer to the Sun, the Earth moves faster in its orbit and summer in the Southern Hemisphere lasts five days longer.

Planetary movement

This relationship between the Sun's distance and the Earth's orbital motion is founded on the observations of astronomer Johannes Kepler, who, in the 17th century, realized that planets travel through the Solar System in an elliptical motion rather than a perfect circle.

Perielios in green and aphelias in red from the rocky planets of the Solar System, but the same happens in all others (Image: Reproduction/Public Domain)

Basically, when a planet is closer to the Sun, it moves faster in its orbit and, when away, slower. Later, Kepler's observations were matured by the theory of general relativity presented by Albert Einstein .

According to Walter Petersen, physicist and researcher at NASA 's Marshall Space Flight Center, even considering the difference in distance between aphelion and perihelion, there is only a global average variation of 7% in the solar energy received. So, in terms of weather, events have no influence.

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