Earth will reach its closest point to the Sun for 2021 on January 2, at 13:51 UT which translates to 00:51 AEDT on January 3.
Astronomers call this celebrated point in Earth’s elliptical orbit around the sun perihelion, from the Greek roots peri meaning near and helios meaning sun.
At its closest point, Earth approaches to within a mere 147,093,162 km of the Sun. That’s in contrast to six months from now, when the Earth reaches aphelion – its most distant point – at 7:57 am on July 6, 2021. Then Earth will be 152,100,533 km from the Sun.
The Earth orbits the Sun in an elliptical path, which means that there is one point on the path closest to the Sun and one point that is farthest away from the Sun.
The shape of the Earth’s orbit varies due to the gravitational influences of other planetary objects, particularly the Moon. Approximately every 100,000 years, the Earth’s orbital path changes from being nearly circular to elliptical. The difference of the Earth’s orbital shape from a perfect circle is known as its eccentricity.