What is the Earth's orbit?
All the planets in the solar system orbit (or move around) the Sun. When planets orbit the Sun, they don’t move around in a perfect circle. They all follow an 'elliptical path', meaning it looks more like an oval.
The Earth’s orbit takes 365 days. This means it takes the Earth 365 days to completely go around the Sun. One year is the time it takes for the Earth to orbit the Sun.
While the Earth orbits the Sun, it is also spinning or rotating on its own axis. The axis is the invisible line that goes straight down the Earth from the North to the South pole. It takes 24 hours (one day) for the Earth to rotate on its axis. The Earth is never the same distance from the Sun. Sometimes it’s closer and sometimes it’s further away.
The Earth is always spinning on its axis and orbiting the Sun at the same time.
- The Earth moves about 67,000 miles per hour through space.
- The closest distance the Earth is to the Sun is called perihelion.
- The furthest distance the Earth is to the Sun is called aphelion.
- Because the Earth is tilted on its axis we have different seasons.