What Is the Shape of Earth's Orbit?

••• LightFieldStudios/iStock/GettyImages

The path of the earth around the sun is an elliptical shaped orbit. But it should be noted that the exact path of the planet changes slightly over time. These changes in orbit can affect certain natural events on the planet, like weather and climate.

Description of Orbit

The average distance from Earth to the sun is 93 million miles. The greatest distance is 94.5 million miles, which occurs every year around July 4. The shortest distance is 91.5 million miles, which occurs around Jan. 3 of each year.

Milankovitch Theory

The Milankovitch Theory proposes that there are three types of variations within Earth's orbit that could possibly affect the climate in some sort of way. Milutin Milankovitch, a Yugoslavian astronomer, proposed that these changes have already been occurring on Earth for millions of years.

Eccentricity

Change in the shape of Earth's orbit is called eccentricity. This change could also affect the climate in different parts of the world over a long period of time.

Axial Procession of the Equinoxes

Bulges in the spherical shape of Earth causes the planet to wobble on its axial plane as it spins and rotates around the sun. This causes slight changes in the observation of celestial bodies from Earth's surface, which is sometimes referred to as the precession of the equinoxes.

Earth's Axis

Milankovitch also proposed that a change in the tilt of the earth's axis could act to affect climate. This concept is called obliquity. In general, Milankovitch theories are applied toward understanding the advance and retreat of the Ice Ages that have occurred in the past.

Related Articles

How Does the Solar System Affect the Earth?
In Ancient Greece What Shape Was the Earth Believed...
Why Does the Earth Rotate?
Definition of Elliptical Orbits
How Can Earth's Rotation & Tilt Affect Global Climate?
How Does the Moon Affect Earth's Seasons?
Orbital Radius vs. Planetary Radius
What Is the Distance From the Sun to Mercury?
The Effects of Revolution & Rotation on Climate & Weather
How Does the Earth's Revolution Affect Its Seasons?
Two Types of Planetary Motion
In Ancient Greece What Shape Was the Earth Believed...
Which Planet Has the Strongest Pull?
Why Is a Pendulum Scientifically Important?
Cause of Shifts in Earth's Continents
How Does Latitude Affect Climate?
What Are the Elements of Uranus?
The Two Forces That Keep the Planets in Motion Around...
The Movement of the Sun & Moon in the Sky
Is the Moon Round?

Dont Go!

We Have More Great Sciencing Articles!