Earth farthest from Sun July 4

July 4th, 2008 - 8:54 pm ICT by IANS  


New Delhi, July 4 (IANS) We may not have realised that we are farthest from the sun in July and received the least sunlight Friday than any other time of the year. In July, Earth was at aphelion, a position where it is at the end of an ellipse while orbiting round the sun.

“We were farthest from the sun Friday than at any other time of the year. The sun appeared slightly smaller in the sky (about 1.7 per cent) and global solar heating was a little less (by about 3.5 per cent) than the yearly average,” said Chandra Bhushan Devgun, director of the Science Popularisation Association of Communicators and Educators.

Interestingly, a distant sun means less sunlight for our planet.

“Averaged over the globe, sunlight falling on Earth in July is about 7 per cent less intense than it is in January,” Devgun said.

In January, when we were closest to the sun (perihelion), the distance was 147.5 million km. In July, we are 152.6 million km away — a five million kilometer difference.

However, our planet is actually warmer when we’re farther from the Sun.

The scientific explanation for the phenomenon is that “Seasonal weather patterns are shaped primarily by the tilt of our planet’s spin axis, not by aphelion or perihelion.”

“During northern summer, the north pole is tilted toward the Sun. The Sun climbs high in the sky, and days are long. That’s what makes July so hot,” observed Devgun.

This happens because continents and oceans aren’t distributed evenly around the globe. There’s more land in the northern hemisphere and more water in the south.

During the month of July the land-crowded northern half of our planet is tilted toward the Sun. Earth’s temperature is slightly higher in July because the Sun is shining down on all that land, which heats up rather easily.

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