Despite Heat, Earth Is Farthest From Sun on Friday
The Earth reaches aphelion in its elliptical orbit.
That's because the orbits of all the planets in our solar system—including Earth's—are elliptical, as opposed to circular. The phenomenon was first explained in mathematical detail by the 17th-century German astronomer Johannes Kepler.
Earth's elliptical orbit means there will be a point each year when the planet is closest to the sun, called perihelion, and a point when it is farthest away, known as aphelion.
(Related: "Sun Headed Into Hibernation, Solar Studies Predict.")
On Friday at 10:46 a.m. ET our planet will be at aphelion—94,508,959 miles (152,097,426 kilometers) from the sun. This year's perihelion was on January 1 at 11:39 p.m. ET, when Earth was 91,402,559 miles (147,098,161 kilometers) from the sun.
The timing and distances change slightly from one year to