No, the Aphelion Phenomenon does not cause extreme cold weather

Climate False Weather

A number of posts and forwarded messages across social media platforms are going viral with claims that climate change is taking place and weather will get colder now due to a certain natural phenomenon. 

The message says that the phenomenon of aphelion will begin ‘tomorrow’ so the weather will get colder and one should be careful. 

“Starting tomorrow at 05.27 we will experience the APHELION PHENOMENON,

 where the Earth will be very far from the Sun.

 We cannot see the phenomenon, but we can feel its impact.

 This will last until August.

 We will experience cold weather more than the previous cold weather,

 which will have an impact on flu, cough, shortness of breath, etc.

 Therefore, let’s all increase immunity by drinking lots of vitamins or supplements so that our immunity is strong.

 The distance from Earth to the Sun is 5 light minutes or 90,000,000 km.  The phenomenon of aphelion to 152,000,000 km.  66% further.

 So the air is colder, the impact on the body is not good because it is not used to this temperature.

For that, keep our health conditions in order to stay healthy with such weather conditions…”

Here is one such Facebook Post:

Facebook Link | Archived Link

The same message is being widely shared even on instant messaging apps like WhatsApp. Here is one such screenshot: Archived Link

To know more about it, Fact Crescendo investigated the phenomenon of aphelion and whether it affects life on Earth in any way. The investigation revealed that the message being shared is False.  We saw that Aphelion is an annual natural phenomenon and it isn’t only occurring in 2022. 

Fact Check Methodology

According to a post on the official website of Britannica, Aphelion, in astronomy, is the point in the orbit of a planet, comet, or other body most distant from the Sun. This happens because the orbits are not perfectly circular. As a result, the Earth is sometimes closer to the Sun and sometimes far away. Perihelion is when the planet is closest to the Sun.

Perihelion and aphelion both occur once a year. There is nothing unusual about Earth’s aphelion in 2022. So the Southern Hemisphere won’t experience “colder than previous cold weather” in winter.

Perihelion and aphelion dates change slightly every year, but they are often in January and July, respectively. According to the US Navy ‘s website, perihelion occurred on January 4, 2022, and aphelion occurred on July 4. Aphelion does not influence Earth’s weather.

This image explains the phenomena:

Fact Crescendo Malayalam has also published a Fact Check on the same claim where they have cited as evidence, an article by Retired Professor of Ernakulam Maharaja’s College and Space Science Enthusiast Dr N. Shaji. In it he explains:   

“The word aphelion is familiar to those who have studied astrology. Johannes Kepler discovered in the 17th century that the planets of the solar system, including the Earth, move in elliptical orbits around the Sun. The closest point to the Sun in that orbit is called perihelion and the farthest point is called aphelion. This ellipse is not much different from the orbit in terms of the Earth. 

The average distance from the Earth to the Sun is about 152 million km. The distance light travels in about 500 seconds (about 8 minutes). To be a little more precise, 149.6 million km. The perihelion distance is about 147 million km and the aphelion distance is 152 million km. That means there will be a difference of about 1.7 percent. Because of this, if we think that summer and snow alternate on earth, we are wrong. The reason is different. The reason for the changing of the seasons is the 23.5 degree tilt between the Earth’s orbital plane and the equatorial plane. This is also called the tilt of the earth’s axis . 

This is also, what causes the phenomenon called Uttarayana and Dakshinayana. June-August is generally summer in the Northern Hemisphere. It is winter in the Southern Hemisphere. At that time, the north receives more heat than the south. This will be reversed during December-February; that is, summer in the southern hemisphere and winter in the northern hemisphere. 

But Earth reaches aphelion in the first week of July. In 2022 this will happen on July 4th at 12.42 PM. At that time the distance from the Sun was 152,098,455 km. In 2023 – it will be 01.36 am on 7th July. At that time the distance will be 152,093,251 km.”

Dr Shaji told our colleagues from team Fact Crescendo Malayalam that he wrote the article when he noticed that a false message was being spread about Aphelion and many people were asking for an explanation. 

The increase from 90 million to 152 million km is about 69%. But the actual difference between Earth’s aphelion and perihelion from the Sun—between 152.1 million and 147.3 million kilometres, according to NASA—is only about 3.3%.

This small difference is not enough to cause noticeable changes in Earth’s climate. 

Weather patterns are very complex and many different things influence climate change. Weather forecaster Accuweather published an articl in 2015 stating that “climate variability plays a much larger role in Earth’s weather patterns than aphelion”. Accuweather adds that it may be different on other planets: “When Mars is at perihelion, the planet gets hotter and the resulting dust storms last longer.”

The Earth passes through several key points in its orbit. The equinoxes are the points where day and night are equal everywhere on Earth.

Our research shows that aphelion does not affect weather in any way. No special precautions need to be taken to deal with the aphelion phenomenon. 

Conclusion 

The information in the post is False. The aphelion phenomenon does not cause climate change. The message that the weather will get colder and respiratory problems will increase may cause unnecessary panic. Please do not share such messages.

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Title:No, the Aphelion Phenomenon does not cause extreme cold weather

Fact Check By: Fact Crescendo Team 

Result: False

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