The sun moves in such a predictable way across the sky that you might never suspect that its relationship with Earth is changing all the time. In fact, the average distance between Earth and the sun is not static year over year. So do we know if Earth is getting closer to or farther from the sun? And what forces are acting on our planet and our star to make this happen?
In short, the sun is getting farther away from Earth over time. On average, Earth is about 93 million miles (150 million kilometers) from the sun, according to NASA (opens in new tab). However, its orbit is not perfectly circular; it’s slightly elliptical, or oval-shaped. This means Earth’s distance from the sun can range from about 91.4 million to 94.5 million miles (147.1 million to 152.1 million km), NASA (opens in new tab) says.
Still, on average, the expanse between Earth and the sun is slowly increasing over time. This growing distance has two major causes. One is that the sun is losing mass. The other involves the same forces that cause tides on Earth.
“Writer Fuel” is a series of cool real-world stories that might inspire your little writer heart. Check out our Writer Fuel page on the LimFic blog for more inspiration.