Earth to sun: I need some space
July 5th, 2012
05:20 PM ET

Earth to sun: I need some space

You may feel like the sun is breathing down your neck, but in fact, it's farther away than you think. Today, the sun is actually the farthest away from the Earth as it is going to be all year long.

Hard to believe? According to Live Science, as of 12 a.m. today, Earth has reached a point in its orbit called the “aphelion,” which is the spot where it is farthest away from the sun all year - approximately 94.5 million miles, which is about 1.5 million miles farther than usual.

On average, the Earth is about 93 million miles away from the Sun, and reaches "perihelion," its closest approach to the sun, in January. That means that there's about 1.5 million miles more than usual in distance - and 3 million miles farther than perihelion - between the two bodies.


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Filed under: On Earth • Severe Weather
July 5th, 2012
04:31 PM ET

Higgs boson is like ... a Justin Bieber fan?

It's like molasses! But sort of like the air! Yet it also behaves like fans of Justin Bieber!

Everyone's talking about the Higgs boson, even though there's no really great metaphor for describing what it is and how it works. We know that this particle is responsible for the fact that matter - i.e. the stuff we are made of - has mass. Beyond that, physicists have to get creative.

Scientists from the European Organization of Nuclear Research (CERN) said yesterday that they had discovered a new particle with attributes of the Higgs boson, a particle that had never been detected, but needs to exist in order for current theories about the universe to remain true.

"It's an enormous celebration and everyone's incredibly excited to have found it, but this is by no means a gigantic surprise," said prominent theoretical physicist Nima Arkani-Hamed.

Profile: Colliding with the universe's best-kept secrets



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