Our planet will reach perihelion next January 4. What does this mean? It means that it will be at its closest point to the Sun in its annual orbit. Therefore, the Earth will soon be at maximum speed. Why? At that point, the highest orbital velocity will occur. The planet will be accelerated to 3,420 kilometers per hour above average.
As is known, the Earth revolves around the sun describing an elliptical orbit. This is 930 million kilometers long. It travels at an average speed of 107,280 kilometers per hour. Thus, it takes the planet 365 days and almost 6 hours to make a complete revolution. A leap year occurs every 4 years.
However, that translational speed varies. It was discovered by the German astronomer Johannes Kepler (1571-1630). He studied the laws of motion of the planets around the sun.
Kepler’s second law is known as the “law of areas.” It states that the radius vector sweeps equivalent areas in the same time interval. The radius vector is an imaginary line connecting a planet to the Sun. Therefore, its length varies according to the distance between the two.
This means that the farther a planet is from the Sun, the slower is its displacement. And the closer a planet is to the Sun, the faster is its displacement.
There are two points in the path of a planet where they reach their limiting distances and velocities. They are the perihelion and aphelion. Perihelion is the closest point of a planet to the sun. The aphelion is the farthest point between a planet and the sun.
At perihelion, celestial bodies reach their maximum velocity. That is why we will have the Earth at maximum speed very soon.
According to the specialized site EarthSkythe 2023 perihelion will occur at 16.00 UTC on January 4. Its distance will be just over 147 million kilometers. Aphelion, on the other hand, will be on July 6, about 5 million kilometers away.