Hyderabad: They see each other every day but this January 2, Saturday, is when they get the closest to each other, and that too, for the only time in a year.
This year, January 2 is when the Earth, during its elliptical orbit around the Sun gets to the closest point it can get (Perihelion), which will be at 7.27 pm. The Earth will be 14,70,93,168 km from the Sun, as against the 15,21,00,523 km distance between the two, the farthest during a year called Aphelion and which will be at 3.46 am on July 6. In other words, due to Perihelion, the Earth on Saturday will be 50,07,355 km closer to the Sun compared with July 6.
According to N Sri Raghunandan Kumar, Director, Planetary Society, India, though people would not able to notice or observe this celestial event, it was of great importance with educational potential for students and the public to understand temperatures and that seasons on the Earth are not dependent on the distance of the planet from the Sun but due to the axial tilt during its journey around the Sun.
“It is commonly believed that the distance of the Earth to the Sun decides the season or temperature on the Earth. This is not true. Axial tilt (approx 23.5 degrees) of Earth on its axis while revolving around the Sun regulates seasons on Earth with one of the Hemisphere facing away or towards the Sun. This is why at the beginning of the year, every January, it is winter in most of the countries in the Northern Hemisphere, even when the Earth is the closest it can get to the Sun,” he said, adding that in July when the Earth would be at the farthest point from the Sun, it would be mostly hot in India compared with what it is in January.
“This clearly shows the distance of the Earth from the Sun doesn’t decide the season but its tilt during its yearly journey around the Sun,” he said.