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Solar System Exploration
Earth's Orbit
Earth's Orbit (click to enlarge)

Earth's Orbit

The elliptical orbits of the Moon around the Earth and the Earth around the sun have a substantial effect on the the Earth's tides.

Once a month, at perigee, when the Moon is closest to the Earth, tide-generating forces are higher than usual, producing above average ranges in the tides. About two weeks later, at apogee, when the Moon is farthest from the Earth, the lunar tide-raising force is smaller, and the tidal ranges are less than average.

When the Earth is closest to the sun (perihelion), around 2 January, tidal ranges are enhanced. At aphelion, when the Earth is furthest from the sun, around 2 July tidal ranges are reduced.

Credit: NOAA

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Last Updated: 12 May 2014