On January 4, a the earth Arrived to rock bottomMeaning that it reached the maximum point of its approach to the sun. But, in addition, it accelerates its orbital speed. A fact that happens every beginning of the year.
Then a PhD in Astrophysics, Santiago Vargas, explains what this event is, as our planet reached a distance of 147 million km from the “star king”.
Have you ever heard of a comparison the earth With a giant spacecraft traveling across the universe with nearly 8000 million crew members on board.
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It is still more than just an allegorical thing, though it would in any case be a very special ship because, in addition to turning on itself (earthly rotation), it also moves very quickly around Sol (Translation).
Unlike movement rotation, From whom we easily perceive by the periods of light and darkness, which men called day and night, it can be said that the translation goes unnoticed.
However, as those days and nights happen, the the earth It travels along its orbit in Solar System, Making one revolution around the sun while making 365 complete revolutions and approximately a quarter of another, on itself.
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This means that the Earth must travel fast Speed At an average of 107,280 kilometers per hour, to travel a distance of 930 million kilometers, describing an elliptical orbit around the Sun.
Transitional motion was definitively proposed by the ancient Greek mathematician and philosopher Philolaus of Croton, famous for his planetary model in which the Earth was traveling at a high speed and was not the center of the universe.
If the Earth in a new allegory can celebrate the beginning of a new year, a special moment in its orbit, then surely it will do so on January 4, the day of its closest approach to the Sun.
What Philolaus did not know, and only two thousand years later we were able to find out, thanks to the genius of Kepler, is that the Earth describes an ellipse as it moves around the Sun, and the latter is located at one of the foci of the ellipse.
This has serious implications, the most obvious of which is that the distance between the Sun and the Earth is constantly changing, with moments of minimum approximation (perihelion) when the two bodies are separated by 147 million km, and with a maximum distance (aphelion), 152 million km.
But Kepler’s laws of planetary motion also show that the Earth’s translation speed does not have a fixed value, and it changes, like distance, at all times.
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The closer our planet is to the Sun, the faster its movement, reaching 110,700 kilometers per hour at perihelion, about 7,000 kilometers per hour faster than at aphelion. It is a direct result of the gravity that the Sun exerts on our planet; The shorter the distance, the greater the force of gravity.
If the Earth, in a new allegory, is able to celebrate the beginning of a new year, that is, a special moment in its orbit, on January 4, the day of its closest approach to the Sun, and not on January 1 of the day. Earthlings. The point is that the date of perigee changes over time, among other reasons, due to another translation, namely the translation of the Moon around the Earth, which slightly disturbs the harmonious orbit of the Earth.
Ph.D. PhD in Astrophysics
Astronomical Observatory of the National University
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