Today, January 2, 2021 at 2 pm, Earth was at the closest point to the Sun, perihelion. Thus, our planet was at a distance of 0.983257060 astronomical units (AU), or about 149.6 million kilometers from its star.

As a curiosity, the Earth travels through the cosmos at a speed of 30.75 kilometers per second.

Illustration of the distance from Earth to the Sun, the perihelion

Periélio, the day the Earth was closer to the Sun

If time allowed today, our star would be seen in a larger form of the year because its apparent diameter (angular) reached its maximum value: 32.53 ‘(arc minutes).

Although the true diameter of the Sun remains fixed (1.393 million km), the angle observed between the left and right ends of the solar disk (apparent diameter) decreases or increases, as the distance to the Sun changes.

Illustration of the distance from Earth to the Sun, the perihelion

The average distance from Earth to its star is 1 AU (Astronomical Unit), ie 149.6 million kilometers. In terrestrial translation (elliptical movement around the Sun) the solar distance varies daily: in the perihelion it is closer and in the aphelion it is further away from it.

Although the Earth is in the perihelion, this does not prevent the northern hemisphere from being at the coldest time of the year (winter). The seasons do not depend on the distance to the Sun (which varies little because our elliptical orbit is almost circular), but on the inclination of the Earth’s axis in relation to its orbital plane.

Afélio and Periélio slow down or speed up the planet

At Afélio, a planet’s orbital speed will be lower. This is because it is at a greater distance from the Sun. On the other hand, at Periélio, where the distance is smaller, the orbital speed is greater.

The average distance from the Sun is about 150 million kilometers. In the aphelion it reaches 152.09 million kilometers and in the perihelion it falls to 149.59 million kilometers.

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