perihelion

noun
peri·​he·​lion | \ ˌper-ə-ˈhēl-yən How to pronounce perihelion (audio) \
plural perihelia\ ˌper-​ə-​ˈhēl-​yə How to pronounce perihelion (audio) \

Definition of perihelion

: the point nearest to the sun in the path of an orbiting celestial body (such as a planet) — compare aphelion

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Other Words from perihelion

perihelial \ ˌper-​ə-​ˈhēl-​yəl How to pronounce perihelion (audio) \ adjective

Examples of perihelion in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web That outcome was not guaranteed; two bodies can have similar arguments of perihelion even if their orbits are not otherwise physically similar. Michael D. Lemonick, Scientific American, "Strong Evidence Suggests a Super Earth Lies beyond Pluto," 20 Jan. 2016 The closest of these run-ins occurs when Earth reaches aphelion, or its farthest point from the sun, and when Mars reaches perihelion, its closest point to the sun. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, "How to Get an Absolutely Perfect View of Mars This Week," 5 Oct. 2020 As philosopher of science Thomas Kuhn noted, Newton's laws were retained despite the fact that they were contradicted for decades by the motions of the perihelion of Mercury and the perigee of the moon. Mano Singham, Scientific American, "The Idea that a Scientific Theory can be 'Falsified' Is a Myth," 7 Sep. 2020 On July 3 of this year, the comet reached its perihelion, or closest point to the sun, cruising just 27 million miles away from the boiling-hot star, per a NASA statement. Nora Mcgreevy, Smithsonian Magazine, "Hubble Snapshots Reveal that Comet Neowise Survived Its Trip Around the Sun," 26 Aug. 2020 In December 2019, comet 2I/Borisov reached its closest point to the sun, 190 million miles away, known as perihelion. Fox News, "Mysterious interstellar comet Borisov survived its encounter with the sun, new study says," 6 June 2020 In December 2019, comet 2I/Borisov reached its closest point to the sun, 190 million miles away, known as perihelion. Fox News, "Mysterious interstellar comet Borisov survived its encounter with the sun, new study says," 6 June 2020 The spacecraft's first perihelion -- the point in the orbit closest to the sun -- was about half the distance between the sun and Earth. Amy Woodyatt, CNN, "Solar Orbiter makes its first close pass of the sun," 15 June 2020 In December 2019, comet 2I/Borisov reached its closest point to the sun, 190 million miles away, known as perihelion. Fox News, "Mysterious interstellar comet Borisov survived its encounter with the sun, new study says," 6 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'perihelion.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of perihelion

1666, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for perihelion

New Latin, from peri- + Greek hēlios sun — more at solar

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Time Traveler for perihelion

Time Traveler

The first known use of perihelion was in 1666

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Statistics for perihelion

Cite this Entry

“Perihelion.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/perihelion. Accessed 10 May. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on perihelion

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about perihelion

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