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Skywatch 16: Aphelion Day

Earth reached its furthest point away from the sun in its orbit.

PENNSYLVANIA, USA — While we celebrated America's birthday on Monday, there was something else going on all around the world.

Earth reached its furthest point away from the sun in its orbit.

Yes, Monday, July 4th, was also Aphelion Day.

That Earth's orbit around the sun isn't a perfect circle. Rather, it's a bit of an ellipse.

During the summer, we're further away from the sun or at Aphelion.

During the winter, we reach what's called Perihelion, or our closest pass to the sun. That might seem counterintuitive because it's colder during the winter and warmer during the summer.

Yes, however, remember that Earth's seasons aren't determined by its proximity to the sun. Rather, it's Earth's tilt.

During Northern Hemisphere summer, we're tiled towards the sun, and in Northern Hemisphere winter, we've tilted away from the sun.

See past Skywatch 16 segments on YouTube.

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