Earth Is Farthest From the Sun Today

Aphelion puts planet 1.5M miles farther away than usual
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 5, 2012 12:36 AM CDT
Updated Jul 5, 2012 4:46 AM CDT
Earth Is Farthest From the Sun Today
It's not as close as it looks.   (Getty Images)

It may not feel like it to millions of sweltering Americans, but the sun is now as far away from the Earth as it's going to get this year. Our planet reaches a point in its orbit called the aphelion today, putting it 94.5 million miles away from the sun—1.5 million miles farther away than usual and more than 3 million miles farther than during its closest approach in early January.

The hot weather in the US isn't the result of distance from the sun, but is caused by the tilt of the Earth's axis, which determines whether the sun's rays hit a place directly or at an angle, LiveScience explains. Because of the tilt, the eastern US is receiving about three times as much heat as it did during the winter solstice. (Read more Earth stories.)

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