Approaching the Sun can surely be terrifying at one point. The star that supports all life forms on Earth can become our biggest foe if we approach it too much. Luckily for us, there’s no sign of such a thing ever happening.
Earth is just going through its usual perihelion phase, meaning that it’s currently at the closest point to the Sun in 2022, according to Space.com. The perihelion for this year occurred at 1:52 a.am. EST (0652 GMT), as EarthSky informs.
5 million kilometers closer to the Sun
During the perihelion phase, Earth got 5 million kilometers closer to our star compared to the situation of the aphelion. For the second case, our planet gets positioned at its farthest position from the Sun.
While 5 million kilometers might sound like a huge distance for us humans, it practically means nothing at an astronomical scale. Our Sun is usually positioned at roughly 150 million kilometers away from our planet. This can only mean that 5 million kilometers become an irrelevant distance.
Check out what Walter Petersen, a NASA scientist, had to say for Space.com in 2018:
Even when you take into account that difference in distance between aphelion and perihelion, there’s only about a 7% difference in average global [solar energy] that we receive,
And so it doesn’t amount to a great deal in terms of weather.
Taking into account the distance between the Earth and the Sun, astronomers came up with another measurement unit for understanding better the distances that separate stars, planets, and other cosmic objects: the astronomical unit (AU). One AU is equal to the same distance that separates our planet from the Sun.
Otherwise, astronomers still rely on the concept of light-years to determine distances throughout the Cosmos. This seems to be a better idea when it comes to establishing even bigger distances like the ones separating galaxies from one another.