Does The Sun Look Smaller in the summer?


By By Steve Pool

SEATTLE - It's hard to notice since you're not supposed to look directly at it, but the sun is about 5 percent smaller now than it was in January. But not to worry, it's like this every July.

The Earth's orbit around the sun is not a perfect circle. Around July 5, the Earth is at its farthest point to the sun -- about 5 million kilometers farther than when it's at its closest point around Jan. 4. But we're still warm here in Seattle, because the tilt of the Earth's axis is much more influential to our seasons than the slight change (astronomically speaking) in distance from the sun.

The Earth does get about 7% less sunlight in summer compared to winter, but there's more land mass in the Northern Hemisphere, which absorbs more sunlight.

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