Farmers Almanac
The Farmers Almanac
Now Shipping!
The 2019 Almanac! Order Today

When Is The Earth Farthest From The Sun? The Answer May Surprise You!

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Pinterest Share on LinkedIn Subscribe by Email Print This Post
When Is The Earth Farthest From The Sun? The Answer May Surprise You!

Weather forecasts for the Fourth of July week are predicting high temperatures in the 90s and even 100s across much of the country. So it may surprise you to learn that at 1:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, July 6th, Earth will reach that point in its orbit where it is farthest from the Sun in space, known as aphelion.

Aphelion: Earth’s Distance From the Sun

At the moment of aphelion, the Sun will be 94,507,803 miles away (measured center to center), or 3,105,820 miles farther as compared to when the Earth is closest to it (called perihelion), which occurred last January 3rd. So we are 3.3% farther, from the Sun than we were in January; a change of only 1 part in 30, and makes a difference in radiant heat received by Earth of nearly 7%.

If you ask most people which month of the year they think Earth is closest to the Sun, most would probably say during June, July, or August. But our warm weather doesn’t relate to our distance from the Sun. It’s because of the 23.5-degree tilt of the Earth’s axis that the Sun is above the horizon for different lengths of time at different seasons. The tilt determines whether the Sun’s rays strike us at a low angle or more directly.

At New York’s latitude, the more nearly-direct rays at the Summer Solstice of June 21st, bring about three times as much heat as the more slanting rays at the Winter Solstice on December 21. Heat received by any region is dependent upon the length of daylight and the angle of the Sun above the horizon. Hence the noticeable differences in temperatures that are registered over different parts of the world.

(Continued Below)

A Climatological Fallacy

When I attended Henry Bruckner Junior High School in The Bronx, my ninth grade earth science teacher, Mr. Shenberg, told all of us that because we were farthest from the Sun in the July and closest in January, that such a difference would tend to warm the winters and cool the summers—at least in the Northern Hemisphere.

And yet the truth of the matter is that the preponderance of large land masses in the Northern Hemisphere works the other way and actually tends to make the winters colder and the summers hotter.

Interestingly, the times when the Earth lies at its closest and farthest points from the Sun roughly coincide with two significant holidays: we’re closest to the Sun around New Year’s Day, and farthest from the Sun around Independence Day. Actually, depending on the year, the date of perihelion can vary from January 1 to 5; and the date of aphelion can vary from July 2 to July 6.

Outback Hat

Price: $11.99

The Perfect Hat for Gardening!
Whether you're heading to the Outback, or heading "out back” to garden, our Farmers' Almanac Outback Hat has you covered - literally! Made of 100% durable cotton, our hat will protect your noggin from the sun's harmful rays and keep those pesky black flies from making a meal of your scalp. Perfect for gardening, fishing, boating, or hiking the trails. 

Shop Now »

Articles you might also like...


There are no comments yet...

Kick things off by filling out the form below.

Leave a Comment

Note: Comments that further the discussion of the above content are likely to be approved. Those comments that are vague or are simply submitted in order to promote a product, service or web site, although not necessarily considered "spam," are generally not approved.

If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1919, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.

Spring Is Here – Sign Up Today!

The Farmers' Almanac is a gardener's best friend. Get 365 days of access to our online weather and gardening calendars + a copy of the 2017 Almanac
for only $13.99 $11.99!

Subscribe Today »