Saturday Science Tidbit… The Earth is Closest to the Sun Today… It’s called Perihelion

Here is the Earth's orbits of the Sun... in an elliptical path. (WSAV)

There is a common misconception that the Earth moves around the Sun in a circular path. But this is not true.

The Earth actually orbits the Sun in an elliptical path… with the Sun being closer to the Earth at one point of the path… and further away on the opposite end of the path.

So Earth is closest to the Sun… or at its Perihelion… about two weeks after the December solstice and farthest from the Sun… or Aphelion… about two weeks after the June Solstice.

The words Perihelion and Aphelion come from ancient Greek… where peri means close… and apo means far and helios means the Sun.

The Perihelion for Savannah is today at 5:49 PM. Our Distance from the Sun’s center to Earth’s center will be 91,403,812 miles.

Here is Perihelion and Aphelion data for Savannah through 2020.

Year Perihelion Distance Aphelion Distance
2016 January 2, 2016 5:49 PM 91,403,812 mi July 4, 2016 12:25 PM 94,512,904 mi
2017 January 4, 2017 9:18 AM 91,404,322 mi July 3, 2017 4:12 PM 94,505,901 mi
2018 January 3, 2018 12:35 AM 91,401,983 mi July 6, 2018 12:47 PM 94,507,803 mi
2019 January 3, 2019 12:21 AM 91,403,554 mi July 4, 2019 6:11 PM 94,513,221 mi
2020 January 5, 2020 2:49 AM 91,398,199 mi July 4, 2020 7:36 AM 94,507,635 mi
* All aphelion/perihelion times are in local Savannah time.

Data courtesy of

Do you have a weather question? Drop me a line at Also… follow me on Facebook at and Twitter at @LeeHaywood_WSAV.


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