The Earth is at its closest point to the sun today

NASA recently talked a bit about something going on between the Earth and the sun today, January 2, 2021. Today marks the Earth's perihelion, which is the closest point it reaches to the sun in our planet's elliptical orbit around our host star. NASA says the sun won't appear noticeably larger in the sky.

Despite the fact that it doesn't look larger, it will be three percent larger in the sky. NASA also reminds people not to look at the sun, that is very hazardous for your eyes. The only way to be able to view the sun is to use proper glasses or goggles explicitly designed for looking at the sun.

NASA also took the time to talk about some other interesting things happening in the heavens during January. On January 20, it will be much easier to locate Uranus as it will be located right between the moon and Mars. Typically, Uranus is so far away that we can't see it with the unaided eye, and it's difficult to locate without a telescope guided by a computer. Despite it being easier to spot with its location between the moon and Mars, odds are you still won't be able to see it without a telescope.

During the last two weeks of January, amateur astronomers will also find Mercury more easily than usual. To be able to view Mercury, amateur astronomers will need a clear view towards the West. Mercury will appear only a few degrees above the horizon.

Another interesting tidbit about the Earth reaching its perihelion today is that six months later, the Earth will reach the aphelion. The aphelion is the point when Earth is at its farthest point from the sun. On that day, sunlight reaching the Earth's surface would be about 6.7 percent less intense than usual.