Solar System, The Sun

How Far Is Earth From The Sun?

The sun, our solar system's host star, is 149.6 million km (or 92 million miles) from the Earth.
How Far Is Earth From The Sun?

The sun is a middle-aged star at the center of our solar system. Everything in our known solar system revolves around the sun. Planets, asteroids, comets and more. It formed approximately 4.6 billon years ago and is expected to remain stable for the next five billion years.

How Far Is The Sun From Earth

On average the sun is 149.6 million km (or 92 million miles) from Earth. We say ‘average’ because the orbit of the star varies it’s distance from our home planet. When it is at it’s closest, the sun is 147.1 million km (91.4 million miles) from Earth. In the winter, the Sun is at it’s closest to the planet, in the northern hemisphere. This is known as the perihelion. At it’s furthest, it’s 152.1 million km (94.5 million miles) from us. This occurs during the beginning of July and is known as the aphelion.

The Earth’s Elliptical Orbit

The Earth has an elliptical orbit. This causes the varied distances described above. You can describe this orbit as more of an oval or an ellipse, rather than a stable circle.

Earth Elliptical Orbit
This diagram shows the elliptical orbit of the Earth, the perihelion and the aphelion. 

How Close Could You Get To The Sun And Survive?

Here’s an interesting fun fact for you. Technically, with today’s current technology, we could get safely within 1.3 million miles of the sun. That’s an astounding 96% of the distance from here to our host star. And here’s how we would do it:

The space shuttle has a heat shield resistant up to 4,700° fahrenheit to allow it to re-enter earth safely and survive the frictions of our atmosphere. If we were to cover the shuttle entirely in this material, that would allow us to come within 1.3 million miles safely. At 1.3 million miles the temperature of the sun is approximately equivalent to the heat shield’s resistance.  At the sun’s surface however, the coolest temperatures exceed 9,940°F, and that’s really hot.

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Lauren studies astronomy and physics at NYU.