Around two weeks after the Earth reached its June summer solstice, the time when the Northern hemisphere enjoys a warm summer season, the Earth now enters the aphelion day this year.

The aphelion day means that the planet will be at its farthest from the Sun. On the other hand, its opposite is the perihelion when the Earth is at its nearest to the Sun. So, what should people expect during the aphelion day this year?

 Aphelion 2021: What to Expect When Earth Is at Its Furthest from the Sun
(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
Line art drawing of an aphelion: 1. Planet at aphelion 2. Planet at perihelion 3. Sun

Aphelion Day 2021

According to Inverse, the aphelion day this year will be on July 5 at 6:27 PM EST. The Earth will be approximately 94,510,889 miles (152,100,533 km) away from the Sun. This phenomenon happens every year because the Earth travels through an oval-shaped orbit. The same goes for perihelion.

The Earth may be at its furthest distance from the Sun on aphelion day; it is still not advisable to look directly at the Sun to spot the difference. Subtle changes in the Sun's size are not distinguishable by the naked eye.

Also, remember that the seasons are mainly affected by the Earth's title on its axis. With that said, there will be no notable change in the temperature as well during that time.

Although it might not cause any big difference, like the solstice, the aphelion day is still an important event for the Solar System.

ALSO READ: USPS Issues New Sun Science Stamps Showcasing Different Solar Activity as Seen From Space


Aphelion vs. Perihelion

Aphelion and perihelion happen two weeks after a solstice. Whereas aphelion occurs after the June solstice, the perihelion happens after the December solstice.

When Earth is closest to the Sun, it is called perihelion from the Greek words peri, which means near, and helios, which means Sun. This year, it happened on January 2 at 8:51 am EST, where the Earth is within 91,399,453 miles (147,093,162 km) of the Sun, EarthSky reported.

These two phenomena happen because of the elliptical orbit that the planet follows. That means that there is one point on the part closest to the Sun and another point that is farthest from the Su.

According to Time and Date, the shape of the path could vary depending on the gravitational influences of other planetary objects, like the Moon. Experts have estimated that every 100,000 years, the shape of the orbital path changes from being early circular to being elliptical.

The difference between the path's shape is called eccentricity, wherein a value of 0 is a circular orbit, and a value between 0 and 1 is described as an elliptical orbit.

When Earth is at its closest to the Sun, the Northern hemisphere experiences winter. Conversely, the Northern Hemisphere enjoys the warm summer months when Earth is at its farthest during aphelion.

Additionally, the Farmer's Almanac said that the 23.5-degree tilt of the Earth's axis determines the different lengths of different seasons. It also determines whether the Sun's ray will hit a certain region at a low angle or more directly.

RELATED ARTICLE: Earth Faces First X Class Flare for Solar Cycle 25; Here's What It Means

Check out more news and information on the Sun on Science Times.