Sunday, July 3, 2011

Earth Reaches Aphelion July Fourth

Despite the fact that it's Independence day for us here in America, earth will be at aphelion today. What aphelion? Clearly stated, the earth will be the farthest it can be from the Sun, or 1.017 Astronomical Units away. Perihelion is the exact opposite, of which we will be in six months, three million miles closer to the Sun than we are now.

An Astronomical Unit (AU - for those who are wondering) is the distance, used as a measurement, of earth and the Sun: 93 million miles (approximately). Looking for earth’s exact distance today? It’s at 94,511,923 miles. Last year, on July 6, 2010, the Earth at aphelion was closer, at 94,508,351 miles away. On earth's scales, though, that's about 3500 miles difference, 3572, to be exact.

So, as we are waiting for perihelion, here are the names of some bodies that are called at either aphelion or perihelion; some look as if a toddler thought of them!

Body Closest approach Farthest approach
General Periapsis/Pericentre Apoapsis
Galaxy Perigalacticon Apogalacticon
Star Periastron Apastron
Black hole Perimelasma/Peribothra/Perinigricon Apomelasma/Apobothra/Aponigricon
Sun Perihelion Aphelion
Mercury Perihermion Apohermion
Venus Pericytherion/Pericytherean/Perikrition Apocytherion/Apocytherean/Apokrition
Earth Perigee Apogee
Moon Periselene/Pericynthion/Perilune Aposelene/Apocynthion/Apolune
Mars Periareion Apoareion
Jupiter Perizene/Perijove Apozene/Apojove
Saturn Perikrone/Perisaturnium Apokrone/Aposaturnium
Uranus Periuranion Apouranion
Neptune Periposeidion Apoposeidion
Pluto Perihadion Apohadion

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