Is it true that the distance from the sun to the earth is getting closer?


Sun moves in such a way across the sky that the average distance between the Earth and the sun is not static from year to year. What caused it?

Quoted from LiveScience, the distance from the Sun to Earth which is not static is not getting closer. However, the Sun is actually getting further away from Earth from time to time.

According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Earth is on average about 93 million miles (150 million kilometers) from the sun.

However, the orbit is not perfectly circular; it is slightly elliptical, or oval in shape. This means that Earth’s distance from the sun can range from about 91.4 million to 94.5 million miles (147.1 million to 152.1 million km).

The Cause of the Far Distance of the Sun to Earth

This increasing distance has two main causes. One is that the sun loses mass.

While the second cause because it involves the same force, which causes tides on Earth.

1. Sun Shrink

The nuclear fusion reaction that drives the sun converts mass into energy, following Einstein’s famous equation E = mc^2.

Since the sun is constantly producing energy, it is also constantly losing mass. NASA estimates the sun’s remaining life span is about 5 billion years.

Brian DiGiorgio, an astronomer at the University of California, Santa Cruz, also predicts that the sun will lose about 0.1% of its total mass before it begins to die.

“While 0.1% may not sound like a lot, it’s a lot of mass. It’s roughly the same mass as Jupiter,” said DiGiorgio. Whereas the mass on Jupiter is about 318 times the mass of Earth.

DiGiorgio also explained that the strength of an object’s gravitational pull is proportional to how much mass it has.

“As the sun loses mass, its pull toward Earth weakens, pushing our planet away from our star by about 2.36 inches (6 centimeters) per year,” he explained.

“This is quite negligible, especially compared to the normal variation in Earth’s orbital distance that occurs due to its slightly elliptical orbit – about 3%,” DiGiorgio added.

2. The Effect of Ups and Downs

Just as the moon’s gravitational pull produces tides on Earth, so the Earth’s gravity pulls on the sun.

As is known, the Sun rotates on its axis once every 27 days. Because this is faster than the 365 days or so it takes Earth to complete an orbit around the sun, the tidal bulge that Earth produces when the sun is in front of Earth.

Can it Affect the Climate?

DiGiorgio said, as the Earth moves away from the Sun, the Sun’s light will become dimmer.

Given that Earth’s distance from the sun could grow by 0.2% over the next 5 billion years.

“This dimming corresponds to a 0.4% reduction in solar energy hitting the Earth’s surface. This is relatively small compared to normal variations in brightness sun that occurs because of the Earth’s elliptical orbit, so there is no need to worry too much,” he said.

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