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

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 The videos were captured during the probe’s first close perihelion passages. Joshua Hawkins, BGR, 20 May 2022 Though perihelion occurs during winter in the Northern Hemisphere and aphelion occurs during summer, Earth's elliptical orbit around the sun does not cause the seasons. NBC News, 5 Jan. 2022 In short, the upcoming perihelion of Sedna is a rare opportunity to study a proper deep space object that spends much of its time in the outer reaches of our Solar System—and possibly even the Oort Cloud. Jamie Carter, Forbes, 4 Jan. 2022 At perihelion, Earth is roughly 91.4 million miles away from the sun. NBC News, 5 Jan. 2022 Earth reached its closest point to the sun Tuesday at 1:52 a.m. EST, a configuration known as perihelion. NBC News, 5 Jan. 2022 The notes document the duo's effort to confirm that Mercury’s perihelion, the point at which a planet is closest to the sun, changes over time due to the curvature of spacetime. NBC News, 23 Nov. 2021 Hundreds or even thousands of meteors an hour occur when the comet's peak aligns with the comet's perihelion. Skyler Caruso,, 6 Oct. 2021 These eruptions were detected by multiple instruments on the spacecraft during a close flyby of the sun, which is called a perihelion, on February 10. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 18 May 2021 See More

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.

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

Learn More About perihelion

Time Traveler for perihelion

Time Traveler

The first known use of perihelion was in 1666

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near perihelion




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for perihelion

Last Updated

23 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Perihelion.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on perihelion Encyclopedia article about perihelion


Test Your Vocabulary

Eponyms: Words Named After People

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!