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The Earth
Today The Earth has moved as far from the sun as it typically gets, and like a ball that has been thrown into the air, stopping at its maximum height before plummeting back to earth, The Earth has slowed down to as slow as it typically gets.

Starting some time today, The Earth will begin to fall back towards the sun. Hang on, its going to be a wild ride!

Astronomers call this moment in time Aphelion

Comments

  1. #1 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    July 4, 2008

    You, know, I was wondering why the solar tide was getting a tad weaker. Thanks for the reassurance that it will get stronger again!

  2. #2 Romeo Vitelli
    July 4, 2008

    Didn’t I see this in an episode of the Twilight Zone? A woman experiences the Earth getting hotter as it moves towards the sun but wakes up to find that it is actually moving away. Which is it?

  3. #3 bigTom
    July 5, 2008

    If you consider the somewhat simplified system of a point sun and a point earth, we will always stay in the same orbit. There are of course small forces, such as radiation pressure, solar wind etc, that probably in whole cause a slight amount of drag (which would cause an orbiting object to gradually spiral in). The most important long term impact on the earths orbit is solar mass loss (the amount of mass lost by the sun), due to the solar wind, and radiation (e=mc**2) from the sun. For that reason the earth is actually getting farther from the sun. Unfortunately mass loss from a sun like star is way too slow to counteract the brightening of the sun due to its evolution as is depletes its hydrogen. So -if you live long enough, you will see the earth overheat.