Skip to main content
  1. News
  2. Science & Space

Earth reaches its 2014 perihelion

See also

On Jan. 4 at 8:00 a.m. EST (12:00 GMT), Earth reached its perihelion for 2014. The perihelion of a planet's orbit occurs when the planet is at its least distance from its star during a particular orbital cycle.

At the perihelion point, Earth was roughly 147,098,291 kilometers (0.983 AU) away from the Sun. This is a 3.345 percent difference compared to the aphelion which occurred on July 5 at at 11:00 a.m. EDT (15:00 GMT), when Earth was 152,097,426 kilometers (1.017 AU) away from the Sun. This results in a 6.912 percent greater amount of radiant heat that reaches the Earth at perihelion than at aphelion.

The perihelion date varies between Jan. 1 and Jan. 5, while the aphelion date varies between July 2 and July 6.

The times of the perihelion and aphelion clearly show that Earth's seasons are primarily dependent on the tilt of the Earth's rotational axis, not its distance from the Sun. While there is a significant difference in radiant heat, the incident angle of sunlight upon the planet is far more significant. Another important factor is the larger land area in the Northern Hemisphere compared to the larger ocean area in the Southern Hemisphere, leading the Northern Hemisphere to warm more easily.

Advertisement

News

  • Gaza conflict
    Israel official: Ceasefire and expanding Gaza conflict are both being discussed
    Video
    Video
  • Air Algerie crash
    Conflicting reports about the Air Algerie disappearance begin to emerge
    Top News
  • Arizona execution
    A Senator familiar with torture denounces Joseph Wood's botched execution as such
    US News
  • Ray Rice suspended
    Ravens' running back Ray Rice is suspended for two games for a domestic violence arrest
    Sports
  • Amazon tribe falls ill
    An Amazonian tribe catches influenza after making first contact with the developed world
    Headlines
  • CIA prison in Poland
    Poland is declared guilty of human rights violations for hosting a secret CIA prison
    Video
    Video