Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Turning Earth and distance to Sun
Name: Joey
Status: Other
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A 

When our Earth turns, do we move closer to the Sun?

When it is the middle of the night where you are, you are the farthest from the Sun that you will be for that day. As the Earth spins you toward morning, you get closer and closer to the Sun; and at the middle of the day you are the closest to the Sun that you will be for that day. The differ- ence between these two distances is very slight, compared with your average distance from the Sun; even at the equator, where the effect is a maximum, it is a difference of less than one part in 10,000. This tiny difference has nothing to do with why it is (usually) warmer in the daytime than in the previous or following nights.

What I have described above is much easier to see using a globe than from reading these words. Check it out for yourself. I am not certain if I have understood your question correctly. It is also true that, because the Earth's orbit is not perfectly circular but is, instead, elliptic, that the Earth as a whole is farther from the Sun at some times than at others.

RC Winther

Click here to return to the Astronomy Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory