Aphelion will not cause extremely cold weather and will not make people fall sick.
(Photo: The Quint)
A post going viral on various social media platforms claims that a cosmological event called “Aphelion phenomenon” will cause cold weather on Earth between 4 July and August 2022.
The claim further states that the phenomenon – during which the Earth will be nearly 152 million kilometre away from the Sun – will make people sick as the temperatures will drop.
However, according to US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the average distance between the Earth and the Sun is roughly 150 million km and that during aphelion is about 152 million km.
And this difference is not enough to have an impact on the temperature and weather.
We spoke with Aniket Sule, a professor at the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, who dismissed the claims and said that Aphelion will not cause seasonal flu or cough.
The viral claim said that, "From 4 July till 22 August this year. It will be colder than the previous days of the year due to what is called the Aphelion phenomenon, where the Earth becomes very far from the sun. We cannot see the phenomenon but we can feel its impact."
An archive of the post can be found here.
The claim added that the phenomenon will have an impact on flu, cough, shortness of breath, etc.
The same claim was shared massively on Facebook and Twitter, archives of some can be found here and here.
We also received the claim as a query on our WhatsApp tipline.
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
Astronomers, researchers, and professors have all denied the possibility of this phenomena having an impact on Earth's temperature. Further, this is an annual occurrence and nothing that's happening for the first time in 2022.
WHAT IS APHELION AND DOES IT IMPACT THE TEMPERATURE?
According to NASA, "Earth's average distance to the Sun is about 93 million miles (150 million kilometre)."
Aphelion phenomenon is the day when Earth is at its closest approach to the Sun, at about 152.6 million km. And just the way Earth moves away, it moves closer to the Sun at 147.5 million and this is called the Perihelion phenomenon.
An article published on the website of NASA explores the misconception of how this distance is often responsible for the four seasons. It states that it's the Earth's tilt that is responsible for the change of seasons.
Another article published on the website of the University of Southern Maine talks about the impact of aphelion on temperature. It states that the difference in distance between the Sun and the Earth is not significant enough to have an impact on the temperature.
Aniket Sule explained what Aphelion point was.
He told us that when the Earth is at the Aphelion point, the light flux from the Sun will be less than other days. However, since Earth's orbit is nearly circular, the difference between Perihelion distance and Aphelion distance is not much.
"Local weather including cold and warm spells are strongly governed by local geography and local climate, " Sule said.
So, evidently, the claims that "the Earth is roughly 90 million km from the Sun" and that Aphelion day will impact the weather and people's health are false.
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