New Delhi, Jan 2 (TruthDive): Sky watchers have another celestial treat in 2013 as sun is coming to the nearest point to Earth on Wednesday at 10:10 am. At that time the distance between Sun and the Earth is 147 million kilometres, Planetary Society of India General Secretary Sri Raghunandan Kumar said.
When our planet Earth is very close to the Sun, it is called perihelion, which means closest point; in July it is at aphelion, the farthest point from the Sun for the year. The word “perihelion” comes from the Greek terms “peri” meaning near, and “helios” meaning Sun.
Every year in early January, our Earth is closest to the Sun. The aphelion will happen on July 5, 2013.
All planets, asteroids and comets in our solar system have elliptical orbits. And because of this elliptical orbit, they all have a farthest and a closest point from the Sun.
Earth’s distance from the sun is not the main cause of the temperature and seasons, it is mostly because of the tilt of our world’s axis that creates summer and winter. In winter, our part of Earth is tilted away from the sun, and in summer, our part of Earth is tilted toward the sun, which determines the climate. The maximum tilt of our Earth towards or away from the sun happens in the month of December or June solstice.
Another celestial treat for sky watchers, the first meteor shower will happen on January 4. This Quadrantid meteor shower is one among the strong meteor showers of this year 2013 and these celestial fireworks are expected to reach its maximum of around 120 meteors per hour at around 3 am on Thursday, January 4.
This Quadrantids meteor shower may be seen well from the northern hemisphere. NASA has also planned to live stream the meteor shower in its NASA’s Ustream channel.