Hot Summer Days Mark The Earth’s Greatest Distance from the Sun

As warm as the temperatures have been recently, it may shock you to learn that today marks the Earth’s Aphelion, or its greatest distance from the Sun in its orbit. This may confuse those that think the Earth has seasons due to its proximity to the Sun.  The seasons of Earth are actually due to the tilt of the Earth’s axis, and is a result of how much direct sunlight we receive at any given time of year.

Seasons in the Sun Credit: science.howstuffworks.com

It’s one of my favourite trivia questions to ask kids in my planetarium shows, and have them guess when the Earth is closest to the Sun.  Most of them do the logical thing and figure that it is hotter when the Sun is closer.  Although there is a small effect from the Sun being closer, that effect is unnoticeable among the climate patterns from year to year.

Image credit: Gothika/Duoduoduo/Wikimedia commons 3.0 license

So enjoy the lovely weather and bask in the warmth of slightly-more-direct sunlight.  Summer in Canada generally only lasts a couple of weeks, so get outside while you can.

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