The Super Earth moment occurs this week: This week on the Storyteller's Night Sky

Jan 2, 2017

Celebrating Super Earth Wednesday, January 4, 2017 at 9:17 am. Photo of Lake Michigan by MSA

It’s a New Year, so it’s time to start a new trend I’ll call “Super Earth!”

So “Super Earth” is not really a fabrication, especially if you put it in the context of the “Super Moon” craze that’s been going on!  A Super Moon is technically known as Perigee Moon, or Moon closest to Earth, which happens every month.

“Super Earth” occurs when the Earth is closest the Sun, called its “perihelion”, which happens only once every year, during the first week of January. Wait, January? If we’re closer to the Sun now, then why is it so cold?

Weather and temperature are not so much determined by our proximity to the Sun, as they are by the tilt of the Earth on its axis. During the winter months, our north pole is tilted away from the Sun; which means the Sun crosses lower through the sky at this time of year, and our days are shorter. But keep in mind: the exact opposite is true for the southern hemisphere.

But let’s get back to Super Earth: Earth will come closest to the Sun this Wednesday, January 4th~ 3 million miles closer than when it’s furthest away from the Sun in July. To conceive of this distance, imagine circumnavigating the globe at its equator over 120 times, that’s 3 million miles.

Now, don’t expect to be able to tell that the Sun appears larger at our Super Earth moment than at other times; this is just something you have to know is happening. And I’m after the wisdom in the moment, which I think is uniquely captured by the 13th century mystic poet Rumi: we’ve made our resolutions, and even though it’s cold outside, we can now, in the words of Rumi, allow ourselves to be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what we really love…

The Super Earth moment occurs Wednesday, January 4 at 9:17 am.