The strange phenomenon that will make the Earth move slower this Friday, July 5 – Teach me about Science

The strange phenomenon that will make the Earth move slower this Friday, July 5 – Teach me about Science
The strange phenomenon that will make the Earth move slower this Friday, July 5 – Teach me about Science
FUENTE: Getty Images

This coming Friday July 5thour planet You will experience a very interesting astronomical phenomenon. In this date, the Earth will be found at the most point remote of its orbit around the Sun, moving at a slower speed than in any other time of year. This event, although it is a natural process that occurs annuallyit is a spectacle that we hardly ever feel its execution, but it happens and it is proven.

The phenomenon is called “aphelion,” and it is the moment when the Earth is farthest from the Sun in its elliptical orbit. difference from what many might thinklas orbits of the planets They are not perfect circles, but ellipses. This means that there are points where we are closer to the Sun (perihelion) and others in which we are further away (aphelion). This year, the aphelion will occur on July 5, when the distance between the Earth and the Sun will be approximately 152 million kilometers.

Why does the Earth move slower at aphelion?

The explanation of why the Earth slows down at aphelion is found in Kepler’s second law.. This law, formulated by the astronomer Johannes Kepler in the 17th century, establishes that a planet moves more slowly when it is farther from the Sun and more quickly when it is closer. This is due to the influence of solar gravity. When the Earth is at perihelionthe Sun’s gravitational force is greater, which accelerates its movement. However, at aphelion, the gravitational force is less, which slows down its speed.

SOURCE: Montevideo Planetarium

Consequences of aphelion on our planet

One of the most interesting consequences of the aphelion is its impact on duration of the seasons. Because the Earth moves more slowly when it is farther from the Sun, Summer days in the Northern Hemisphere are slightly longer than winter days. This means that summer in the hemisphere north lasts about five days longer than winter. This difference may seem small, but it has effects significant in the climate and the agriculture of the region.

What about the other planets? Do they also have aphelion and perihelion?

The orbit of the Earth is quite close to a circlewith only a small eccentricity causing these differences in distance y speedHowever, there are planets in our solar system with orbits much more eccentric. A notable example is Mercury. Mercury’s orbit is much more elliptical, with a distance from the Sun varying between 46 million kilometers at perihelion and 70 million kilometers at aphelion.

This large variation causes drastic changes in the speed and conditions on Mercury’s surface. During aphelionMercury moves to about 40 kilometers per second, while at perihelion its speed increases to almost 60 kilometers per second. Furthermore, the apparent size of the Sun from the surface of Mercury can change dramatically, appearing almost ten times larger in the perihelion than at aphelion.

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