Every day we see the sunrise and set which makes it seem like the sun is circling around the earth. But actually, it is the earth that revolves around the sun, the center of our solar system. But how long does it take for the earth to complete one full revolution? We experience summer, winter, spring, and autumn as clockwork every year. After every two or three months, the season changes. If we really think about it, what really is a year? All this can be answered by one simple thing: the revolution of the earth around the sun and the various insinuations relating to the time taken by Earth to complete this one revolution. So in this article, we’ll answer in detail how long does it take for the earth to revolve around the sun. Stay tuned!
How Long Does It Take For The Earth To Revolve Around The Sun?
We are all aware that the Earth revolves around the Sun in an imaginary elliptical orbit created due to the gravitational forces between the earth and the sun. This elliptical orbit is around 940 million km on which the earth travels at a speed of about 29.8 km/s in a counter-clockwise direction. The speed of revolution changes according to the earth’s position in the orbit. At the positions with least distance from the Sun (perihelion), the speed is about 30.29 km/s whereas the positions farthest from the sun (aphelion) it is about 29.29 km/s. This means that the Earth takes around 365.256 days to complete one revolution of the orbit. This is what constitutes the year in layman terms. These 365.25 days are rounded off to 365 days for each year and the extra one-quarter day is adjusted every 4 years in the form of an extra day added to the year. This is what we call the Leap year with 366 days and 29th February as the date that makes it to the calendar only once every four years.
How Do Seasons Change?
Since the earth’s orbit around the sun is elliptical in shape with the sun at the center, the earth is at different distances from the sun at different times of the year. This means that the amount of heat received by the earth’s surface also differs based on the distance that separates it from the sun. On top of this, the earth axis is tilted by 23.5 degrees which cause one face of the earth to receive more heat than the other. Breaking this down in simple terms, when the earth is at aphelion positions, it experiences extreme seasons like summer and winter. The hemisphere facing away from the sun experiences winter while the one tilted towards the sun experiences summer. On the other hand, when the earth is at perihelion positions and both the hemispheres receive equal amounts of heat, we experience spring and autumn seasons.
The length of these seasons is based on the time earth spends in a particular region of the elliptical orbit. It spends more time towards the extremes of the major axis of the ellipse rather than at the extremes of the minor axis. This causes summer and winter to be longer than spring and autumn. So, it can be said that the tilt of the earth’s axis along with its revolution around the sun is the reason that we have seasons.
Why Does the Revolution Time of a Planet Matter?
We all know the sequence of planets for nearest to farthest from the sun. Based on this knowledge, we can conclude that the orbits of these planets also vary in size according to their distance from the Sun. But it is important to note that the variation is quite vast. With Mercury requiring only around 88 days to revolve around the sun to Pluto requiring close to 248.59 earth years for one revolution. This essentially means that a person aged 249 years on earth would essentially be only 1-year-old on Pluto, if we go by the earth’s convention of calculating age. Considering only the new planets, i.e. the last planet being Neptune. Neptune requires around 164.8 years for one revolution.
This difference in revolution times around the sun helps us put in perspective the difference that living on these planets would create. For example, considering that the human species is paving its way towards colonizing Mars, we might have to redesign some conventions that are based on the planet’s rotation and revolution. Considering Mars takes 1.88 years to revolve around the Sun, a person aged around 2 would be only a year old on Mars. This forces us to think that being a multi-planetary species is no cakewalk. It will require the human race to rethink everything that we’ve taken for granted.
We hope you enjoyed reading about how long does it take for the earth to revolve around the sun in depth. If you have any queries related to this article, leave us a comment below.
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