FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Early Tuesday morning, January 4, at 1:52 AM, the Earth reached perihelion (pronounced pear-uh-hee-lee-in). This is the point in its orbit where it is closest to the sun. Of course, at this closest point the Earth is still 91.4 million miles away from the sun.

Image Credit: NASA

In 6 months, on July 4 at 3:10 am, Earth will be in its farthest location in relation to the sun. This is called aphelion (pronounced a-feel-lee-in or ap-heel-lee-in). At this point, there are 94.5 million miles between the two.

Many people wonder why it’s winter here in the Northern Hemisphere, if we’re closer to the sun now than at any point of the year. The answer is that while our planet is physically closer in distance now, the tilt of the Earth’s axis, at this point in its orbit, tilts our hemisphere away from the sun. So, we do not get the most direct rays of the sun, like we do in the summer, when the Earth’s tilt results in us being tilted toward the sun.