It is July 4, 2020 and Earth is at aphelion. That means the planet is at its most distant point from the Sun. Here in Paradelle, it happened early this morning. Aphelion comes from the Greek words apo meaning away, off or apart and helios, for the Greek god of the Sun.
The fact that for most of the Northern Hemisphere it is a hot summer day today should make you realize that the distance of Earth from the sun is NOT what creates the seasons. The seasons result from Earth’s tilt on its axis and today the Northern Hemisphere is tilted most toward the Sun giving us the heat of summer.
Despite diagrams you may have seen, Earth’s orbit is not quite circular – but close – so the distance from the sun doesn’t change much. If you ask most people how far we are from the Sun, the common answer is 93 million miles (150 million km) which is our average distance. Today, Today we are about 3 million miles (5 million km) farther from away from when we are closest in about six months.