The Earth will reach its maximum speed of 2022 on January 4

On January 4, 2022, the Earth will reach perihelion and therefore its maximum speed around the Sun.

Every beginning of the year, the Earth’s elliptical orbit reaches its point Closest approach to the sun, Call rock bottom.

When the Earth is at perihelion, its orbital velocity Speed ​​up to the max; Whereas at apogee the exact opposite happens and our planet moves at the lowest speed.

This Tuesday, January 4 at 00:52 (GMT -6), our planet will reach A A distance of at least 147 million km from the sunAnd this is enough so that instead of traveling at an average speed of 107,280 kilometers per hour, it accelerates until it reaches a maximum of 110,700 kilometers per hour.

Illustration: Getty Images

And although this increase in the speed of the Earth is imperceptible to the organisms that inhabit it, during perigee, Sunlight reflected off the Earth is 7% more intense than at apogee. This phenomenon also causes the current seasons (northern winter and Australian summer) to contain 4.7 days shorter duration Of the seasons that occur in July, during the apex.

However, the effects of perihelion on life on Earth are minimal, and instead, The main meteorological variables refer to the seasons, due to the tilt of 23.5 degrees on the axis of rotation of the Earth.

Hence, the maximum and minimum distance between the earth and the sun has nothing to do with the temperature of the earth, which is a more obvious phenomenon for the countries of the northern hemisphere, where winter causes the lowest temperatures of the year despite the fact that the distance with respect in the sun is minimal, while summer brings With him heat waves coincide with apogee.

rock bottom
Photo: Ian Griffin (Otago Museum)

In 1609 Johannes Kepler He was the first person to suggest that instead of full circles, the orbits of the planets around the Sun are ovals with our nearest star at one of their foci. From systematic observations and calculations, Kepler identified three basic laws that are still useful in explaining The movement and speed of the planets around their orbit.

From the concept of elliptical orbits, it was possible to determine the nearest point (perihelion) and the farthest point from the sun (aphelion). As Kepler suggested The swept areas of the planets in their orbit are traversed in equal time intervals, so that their orbital speed increases as they get closer to their star.

And although this effect is small on Earth due to the lower eccentricity, the phenomenon is more dramatic for things like Pluto, whose long orbit caused this within a short period of its 247-year translation around the sun, it is Closer to the sun than Neptune.

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