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    HomeScienceDaily Telescope: A view of our star as Earth reaches perihelion

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

    Enlarge / Sol, imaged by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory.


    Welcome to the Daily Telescope. There is a little too much darkness in this world and not enough light, a little too much pseudoscience and not enough science. We’ll let other publications offer you a daily horoscope. At Ars Technica, we’re going to take a different route, finding inspiration from very real images of a universe that is filled with stars and wonder.

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

    So why a picture of the Sun? Because we’ve just passed perihelion, the point at which planet Earth reaches its closest point to the Sun. This year perihelion came at 00:38 UTC on Wednesday, January 3. We got to within about 91.4 million miles (147 million km) of the star. Due to its slightly elliptical orbit around the Sun, Earth will reach aphelion this year on July 5, at a distance of 94.5 million miles (152 million km).

    There is a bit of irony for those of us who live in the Northern Hemisphere, of course. We approach nearest to the Sun at almost the coldest time of year, just a couple of weeks after the winter solstice. Our planet’s seasons are determined by Earth’s axial tilt, however, not its proximity to the Sun.

    In any case, happy new year, a time when the world can seem full of possibility—shiny and bright like a star.

    Source: NASA SDO

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