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Earth cozies up super close to the sun today

Is it hot in here? The Earth is as close to the sun today as it will be all year. Time to break out the sunscreen.

Sun still
We're just a bit closer than usual to this fiery, spitting ball of cosmic fury. NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory

Looking out my window, it's a beautiful sunny day. Perhaps it's even a bit sunnier than usual here in New Mexico. Turns out, there may be a reason for that. The Earth is as close to the sun today as it will be for the whole year of 2013.

How close is close? The Earth is a mere 91,402,560 miles away from the sun today. Usually, we're right around 93 million miles. The phenomenon of getting all cuddly with our closest star is called perihelion. "Peri" means near and "Helios" was the Greek god of the sun.

If you're more the vampire type, then you can look forward to aphelion coming up on on July 5, when the Earth will be giving the sun a cold shoulder at a distance of 94,508,960 miles away.

According to Starry Night Education, hitting perihelion does have some effects on our planet. The Earth is warmed up slightly, about 4 degrees Fahrenheit above normal. Of course, it's still below freezing where I am. Thanks for nothing, perihelion.