What Is Earth’s Path Around the Sun Called?
The Earth’s path around the sun is called its orbit. It takes one year, or 365 days, for the Earth to complete one orbit. It does this orbit at an average distance of 93 million miles from the sun.
The Earth’s orbit is elliptical, which means there are times of the year when it is closer to the sun and times when it is further away. The point where it is closest to the sun is called the perihelion. It occurs on a date between January 2 and January 5 every year. The point that it is furthest away is called the aphelion. It occurs somewhere between July 3 and July 5 each year. There is a difference of three million miles between each of these two points, although this does not have a major impact on the climate or the seasons. Seasons are the result of the tilt of the Earth, rather than its orbit around the sun.
To make it around the sun in 365 days the Earth has to travel at a speed of about 67,000 mile per hour. It rotates on its axis while doing this at the speed of one rotation per day. As a result, the sun shines on half of the Earth at all times as it goes through it orbit.