Welcome to MUSEDWhy do we end our year in the middle of winter? In the past, many cultures would begin each year at the Spring Equinox - as the world was awakening from its long slumber. It was the time of planting and growing. Of baby goats and lambs. This would seem to make more sense.
It turns out that January 1st, the feast-day for the Roman god Janus, has its own special claim to fame. It is the day of our perihelion. This is when our Earth is the very closest to the sun. We have reached the near-point in our yearly orbit around the star which keeps us all alive. This means that, while it's currently winter in North America, it's still just a tiny bit warmer than winter would be for those in Australia. When Australia gets its winter, they are at the point of aphelion - when the Earth is furthest away from the sun. Perhaps that's a win for those in Australia who like to build snowmen :).
Whether you're currently experiencing the perihelion Down Under or in the City that Never Sleeps, it's still a wonderful time to realize just how precious this Earth we all share is. Tiny fluctuations of a 3% distance to our sun impact our weather and our lives.
We all travel on this blue-green ball around our very own star each year, sliding a little closer, sliding a bit further away. The balance is critical. Too much closer and we'd roast. Too much further away and we'd freeze. We should be aware of just how blessed we are that our Earth is "just right" - and do what we can to keep our world healthy. It's the only one we have.
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