Daily Telescope: A view of our star when Earth reaches perihelion

Zoom in / Sol, imaged by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory.


Welcome to Daily Telescope. There is too little darkness in this world and not enough light, too little pseudoscience and not enough science. We'll let the other posts provide your daily horoscope. At Ars Technica, we'll take a different route, finding inspiration from very real images of a universe full of stars and wonders.

Good morning. It's January 4th, and today's photo is of our star Sol. The image was taken by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, a spacecraft in geosynchronous orbit, on Wednesday.

So why the image of the sun? Because we have just passed perihelion, which is the point at which planet Earth reaches its closest point to the sun. Perigee this year came at 00:38 UTC on Wednesday, January 3. We have come to a distance of about 91.4 million miles (147 million kilometers) from the star. Due to its slightly elliptical orbit around the sun, Earth will reach apogee this year on July 5, at a distance of 94.5 million miles (152 million km).

There's a bit of irony for those of us who live in the Northern Hemisphere, of course. We approach our closest approach to the Sun at approximately the coldest time of the year, just two weeks after the winter solstice. Our planet's seasons are determined by the Earth's axial tilt, not its proximity to the Sun.

Anyway, Happy New Year, a time when the world can seem full of possibility – as bright and bright as a star.

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source: NASA SDO

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