from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The point nearest the sun in the orbit of a planet or other celestial body.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The point in the elliptical orbit of a planet or comet etc. where it is nearest to the Sun.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. That point of the orbit of a planet or comet which is nearest to the sun; -- opposed to aphelion.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. That point of the orbit of a planet or comet in which it is at its least distance from the sun: opposed to aphelion.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. periapsis in solar orbit; the point in the orbit of a planet or comet where it is nearest to the sun


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Alteration of New Latin perihēlium : peri- + Greek hēlios, sun.


  • Thus it can be seen that while the sun is travelling through space, it is at the same time giving rise to the electro-magnetic Aether waves, which, by their repelling power, repel the Earth from the sun in the direction that the sun is travelling, and hence the half-circle is elongated into that part of the elliptic orbit known as the perihelion, which is that part of the orbit where the distance of any planet from the sun is the least.

    Aether and Gravitation

  • The point at which a planet is closest to the sun is called the perihelion point, and if Newton’s theory is correct, a planet should return to precisely the same perihelion as it orbits the sun each year.

    Euclid’s Window

  • An effect of this change is that the time of year that Earth is closest to the Sun, called perihelion, varies through the cycle.

    Milankovitch cycles

  • It has been calculated that, had our earth been carried along in its course by the comet of 1861, at its perihelion, that is, its nearest approach to the sun, it would have undergone a heat

    Round the Moon

  • This point of the orbit is known as the perihelion, and at that point the velocity of the earth is at its greatest, because the earth is then nearest the sun.

    Aether and Gravitation

  • The tangent of a comet's orbit, also, can only be tangential to the circular motion of the ether at and near perihelion, which is a very small portion of its period of revolution.

    Outlines of a Mechanical Theory of Storms Containing the True Law of Lunar Influence

  • Among the celebrities who visited Denver while Field was in what he would have called his perihelion was Miss Kate Field, with whose name he took all the liberties of a brother, although there was no blood relationship between them thicker than the leaves of a genealogical compendium.

    Eugene Field A Study In Heredity And Contradictions

  • Hence each planet is nearer to the sun at one part of its orbit than another; that point is called the perihelion, and the farthest point aphelion.

    Recreations in Astronomy With Directions for Practical Experiments and Telescopic Work

  • Each time one of these big blobs of ice and dust ventures into the relatively toasty confines of the inner solar system (called a perihelion passage), the sun's rays cook off part of its frozen surface, releasing particles of dust.

    Space News From SpaceDaily.Com

  • Therefore, Earth is now beginning to make its closest approach to the sun (called perihelion).

    Museum Blogs


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "Simultaneously, from the media perihelion, infused with the spirit of Jerry Springer, arose confessions, observations and revelations about a lifestyle that would have nauseated even William S.Burroughs, involving drug dependence, financial lunacy, lack of concern about the sentient world and disregard for others."

    - Robert Kaplan, A talent for lies and abuse,, 8 July 2009.

    July 8, 2009

  • Archaic spelling "perihelium."

    "... in astronomy, is that point of a planet's or comet's orbit which is nearest the sun, in which sense it stands opposed to aphelium aphelion'>aphelion."

    Falconer's New Universal Dictionary of the Marine (1816), 341

    October 13, 2008

  • opposite = aphelion

    June 22, 2008