If you’re sitting in 90-plus degree weather, it may be hard to believe that the sun is the farthest away from Earth it will be all year. But it’s true.
Today, Monday, July 3, is the aphelion. No, that’s not just some ominously named Greek battle arena. It is, in fact, the one day of the year when the Earth is farthest from the sun in its orbit.
According to Space.com, “The moment of greatest separation, known as aphelion, comes at 4:11 p.m. EDT (2011 GMT) today, when Earth and the sun will be 94,505,901 miles (152,092,505 kilometers) apart..”
At its closest, the Earth passes about 91.4 million miles (147.1 million kilometers) from the sun, which is a difference of about 3.1 million miles.
July 3, 2017: Happy Aphelion! Single day of the year when Earth is farthest from the Sun — 1.7 percent farther than average.
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) July 3, 2017
If you are wondering how we can be so much farther from the sun and yet you’re sweating out of every pore, the position of the Earth in its orbit does not determine the seasons. Rather, it is the tilted axis of Earth’s position in space that does that.
And just FYI, the day when the Earth is closest to the sun is known as the perihelion, and it occurs in early January.