Why will the Earth move slower on Friday, July 5? We explain | News from Mexico | News from Mexico

Why will the Earth move slower on Friday, July 5? We explain | News from Mexico | News from Mexico
Why will the Earth move slower on Friday, July 5? We explain | News from Mexico | News from Mexico

The Earth will move slower this Friday compared to the rest of the year, as will be at aphelion, the furthest point in its orbit around the Sunas Alfred Rosenberg of the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands (IAC) in Spain recalled on Thursday.

Aphelion is a phenomenon that occurs annually, Rosenberg said. He added that to complete its orbit of about 940 million kilometers, The Earth travels at an average speed of 30 kilometers per second.

Since the Earth’s orbit around the Sun It is not circular, the speed of its movement varies: sometimes faster and other times slower. On January 3, 2023, for example, Earth reached its perihelion, the minimum distance from the Sun, of about 147 million kilometers. This Friday, the distance will be approximately 152 million kilometers.

Rosenberg explained that, according to Kepler’s second law, The Earth travels slower when it is farther from the Sun and faster when it is closer. According to this law, the Earth will be moving at just over 29 km/s on Friday, 1 km/s less than on January 3.

Rosenberg used a simile to illustrate this distance: it would be like travelling the distance between Madrid and Barcelona (or between the islands of La Graciosa and El Hierro, about 500 km in both cases) in 17 seconds. It would take half a second longer to travel this distance at aphelion than at perihelion. He also commented that a curious consequence of this difference in speed is that summer in the northern hemisphere lasts about 5 days longer than winter.

From this data, Rosenberg deduced that the Earth’s orbit is almost circular. In contrast, he mentioned that Mercury experiences a much more notable variation, with an aphelion at 70 million kilometers and a perihelion at 46 million kilometers. From its surface, the Sun’s apparent size varies significantly, being four times larger at perihelion than at aphelion, and its speed around the Sun ranges from almost 40 km/s at aphelion to almost 60 km/s at perihelion.

Rosenberg said there are two factors that are important in defining the seasons on a planet: the distance from its star and the tilt of the planet’s rotation axis. In the case of Mercury, its tilt is zero, so the distance from the Sun primarily determines the temperature on its surface. On Earth, with a tilt of 23.5 degrees, it is this tilt that defines the seasons, not the distance from the Sun.

For this reason, the seasons are reversed in both hemispheres, and the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere coincides with the winter solstice in the southern hemisphere (and vice versa). Rosenberg said one might think that the seasons in the southern hemisphere are more extreme than those in the north, since the closest distance to the Sun coincides with its summer, but “that is not the case.”

He stressed that weather and climate are much more complex, and factors such as the surface area covered by land or ocean in each hemisphere must be taken into account. In the northern hemisphere, the land area is about twice as large as in the southern hemisphere, which causes greater warming.

During aphelion, regions located between 20 and 25 degrees north latitude will receive direct sunlight, which will promote maximum warming in these areas.

 
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