Various Artists

Earth's Orbit

It takes 365 1/4 days, one year, for the Earth to go around the Sun once. This path is called the Earth's orbit. The Earth is rushing through space at a rate of about 29,000 m/s (66,000 mph)!. The distance between the Earth and the sun changes as the year progresses. Earth gets closest to the sun about 147 million km away on January 3. The farthest point in Earth's orbit is about 152 million km away from the sun and is reached on July 4. The Earth's axis does not stick straight up from the orbital plane. It tilts about 23 1/2 degrees from the straight-up position, which causes the change of seasons.

© Walter Randelshofer. All rights reserved. Animations used under permission.