At a glance
- Claim: A cosmological event known as the “aphelion phenomenon” will cause cold weather that is colder than normal due to the increased distance of the Earth from the sun.
- Rating: FALSE
- The facts: The claim originated in Indonesia. Indonesia’s weather agency debunked the claim, saying that aphelion does not have a significant impact on the temperature of the Earth. The agency’s statement was supported by statements from the California Academy of Sciences and NASA.
- Why we fact-check this: The claim was submitted to Rappler through email for fact checking.
A claim circulating on the internet says a cosmological event called “aphelion phenomenon” will cause cold weather that is colder than usual due to the increased distance between the Earth and the sun during the event.
The claim says that the aphelion phenomenon will increase the distance between the Earth and the Sun to 152 million kilometers compared to the average distance of Earth from the sun, which is only around 90 million km.
The claim says that this large increase in distance will cause colder weather, warning the public that the event will “have an impact on flu, cough, shortness of breath, etc.”
The claim was submitted to Rappler through email for checking.
This claim is false.
A similar claim first circulated in Indonesia and was debunked by Indonesian news website Okezone and Indonesian newspaper Kompas. Dr. Urip Haryoko, acting deputy for climatology of Indonesia’s weather agency called Badan Meteorologi Klimatologi Geofisika (BMKG), debunked the claim by denying that aphelion affects earth’s weather.
According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), aphelion is the point in Earth’s orbit that is farthest from the sun. It is the result of Earth’s elliptical orbit, and the planet is at this point every June.
The average distance between the Earth and the Sun that is mentioned in the claim – 90 million km – is also wrong. According to the California Academy of Sciences (CAS) and NASA, the average distance between the earth and the sun is 150 million km.
According to NASA astronomer George Lebo, the distance between the Earth and the sun during aphelion, in which the Earth is farthest from the sun, is 152 million km. Both CAS and NASA said that the 2-million-kilometer difference is not enough to make a difference in Earth’s weather. – Lorenz Pasion/Rappler.com
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