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Perihelion Day

On Perihelion Day, Earth is closest to the Sun. Join us in exploring this astronomical wonder and its impact on our planet.
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When it is?
January 3
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Mark your calendars and ready your telescopes for Perihelion Day, which takes place on January 3rd! On this special day, our blue planet is at its closest point to the Sun during its annual orbit. The term ‘perihelion’ originates from the Greek words 'peri', meaning near, and 'Helios', the Greek god of the sun. This celestial event provides us a special perspective on the sun's light and heat, and serves as a wonderful opportunity to gain a greater appreciation for the complex and beautiful mechanisms of our solar system. Get ready for a day full of astronomical fascination and solar spectacles!

History of Perihelion Day

Perihelion Day Dates

Perihelion Day Timeline

<div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>1473</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Copernican Heliocentrism Theory</div><div class='timeline-text'>Nicolaus Copernicus is born, who would later propose the heliocentric model, where the Earth orbits around the Sun.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>1609</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Kepler's First Law</div><div class='timeline-text'>Johannes Kepler formulates his first law of planetary motion, states that planets orbit the sun along an elliptical path with the Sun at one focus.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>1801</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Discovery of the Perihelion</div><div class='timeline-text'>The perihelion of the Earth was first calculated accurately by Johann Franz Encke in Berlin.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>1962</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>NASA's Mariner 2</div><div class='timeline-text'>NASA's Mariner 2 becomes the first successful interplanetary spacecraft, providing valuable data about the sun and Venus during perihelion.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>1977</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Voyager 1 Launch</div><div class='timeline-text'>Launched in 1977, Voyager 1 has provided images and information of our solar system and beyond including data during Earth's perihelion.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>2003</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Perihelion Day Celebration</div><div class='timeline-text'>The continual observation and recognition of Earth's perihelion gains popularity, leading to the informal recognition of Perihelion Day.</div></div></div>

How to Celebrate Perihelion Day

<div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-header'><h3 class='facts-number'>1</h3></div><div class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 class='facts-title'>Turn a solar picnic into a learning opportunity</h3><p class='facts-text'>Gather your family and friends for a solar-themed picnic where you can also educate them about the significance of Perihelion Day. For an added bonus, plan some activities like sun themed crafts or solar system trivia games.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-header'><h3 class='facts-number'>2</h3></div><div class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 class='facts-title'>Organize a Sunrise or Sunset watch party</h3><p class='facts-text'>Given that the Earth is nearest to the sun on this day, it's a great chance to witness and appreciate a stunning sunrise or sunset. Warm up some hot cocoa, dress warm, and enjoy the view.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-header'><h3 class='facts-number'>3</h3></div><div class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 class='facts-title'>Celebration through Art</h3><p class='facts-text'>Turn this astronomical event into an inspiration for art. Paint or draw a picture inspired by Perihelion Day. This could be a representation of the sun, the solar system or even Greek God Helios.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-header'><h3 class='facts-number'>4</h3></div><div class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 class='facts-title'>Engaging in Solar Cooking </h3><p class='facts-text'>Use this day to explore the concept of solar cooking. Make simple solar ovens using cardboard boxes and aluminium foil to cook marshmallows or make S'mores. It’s fun, educational, and delicious!</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-header'><h3 class='facts-number'>5</h3></div><div class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 class='facts-title'>Visit a Local Planetarium or Science Museum</h3><p class='facts-text'>To acknowledge the occasion and learn more about our solar system, visit a local planetarium or science museum. The events held in such places often provide interactive ways to understand complex astronomy concepts.</p></div></div>

Why Perihelion Day is Important

<div id='' class='whywelove-item'><div id='' class='whywelove-letter-cont'><div class='whywelove-letter'>A</div></div><div id='why-we-love-main-cont'><h3 id='' class='whywelove-title'>Enhances Our Understanding of the Solar System</h3><p id='' class='whywelove-text'>On Perihelion Day, we gain a special perspective on the sun's light and heat, enhancing our understanding of Earth's place in the solar system. It provides an exciting opportunity to delve deeper into the celestial mechanisms that shape our world.</p></div></div><div id='' class='whywelove-item'><div id='' class='whywelove-letter-cont'><div class='whywelove-letter'>B</div></div><div id='why-we-love-main-cont'><h3 id='' class='whywelove-title'>An Excuse to Engage in Stellar Activities </h3><p id='' class='whywelove-text'>Perihelion Day offers various fun and educational activities - from solar-themed picnics to creating art inspired by the celestial event, to engaging in solar cooking. These communal activities not only celebrate the astronomical event but also provide a fun way to learn.</p></div></div><div id='' class='whywelove-item'><div id='' class='whywelove-letter-cont'><div class='whywelove-letter'>C</div></div><div id='why-we-love-main-cont'><h3 id='' class='whywelove-title'>Connects Us with Nature and Science</h3><p id='' class='whywelove-text'>Observing natural wonders such as the sunrise or sunset on Perihelion Day allows us to feel more connected with the world around us. Moreover, visits to planetariums or science museums can be a fun, interactive way to appreciate the wonders of astronomy and science.</p></div></div>

5 Illuminating Facts about Perihelion Day

<div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>1</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>Variation in Earth's Distance to the Sun</h3><p class='facts-content'>During perihelion, Earth is about 91.4 million miles (147.1 million kilometers) away from the Sun. This is about 3 million miles (5 million kilometers) closer than at its farthest point (aphelion).</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>2</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>Earth's Velocity Changes during Perihelion</h3><p class='facts-content'>Thanks to Kepler's second law, we know that Earth increases its orbital speed when it is closest to the sun and slows down when it's furthest. This makes Perihelion Day the day Earth travels fastest in its orbit.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>3</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>Perihelion doesn't necessarily mean hotter weather</h3><p class='facts-content'>Contrary to common belief, being closer to the sun during perihelion doesn't mean warmer weather. This is because Earth's axial tilt plays a larger role in seasons, making it winter in the Northern Hemisphere during perihelion.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>4</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>Perihelion's Effect on Tides</h3><p class='facts-content'>The gravitational pull of the sun is stronger at perihelion, which slightly influences Earth's tides. However, the moon remains the dominant force affecting our tides.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>5</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>Perihelion and Aphelion's Influence on Length of Seasons</h3><p class='facts-content'>The difference in Earth's distance from the Sun during perihelion and aphelion results in varying lengths of the four seasons. The closer distance during perihelion makes Southern Hemisphere’s summer and Northern Hemisphere’s winter slightly shorter.</p></div></div>

Perihelion Day FAQs

Perihelion Day Dates







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