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On this Independence Day, Earth is at its farthest point from the sun

On this Independence Day, it's time to wish everyone a "Happy aphelion." Monday marks the annual aphelion, the point in the orbit of a planet, asteroid, or comet when it is at its farthest point from the sun. The Earth's aphelion happens to be rather patriotic, occurring on July 4.

This year, the aphelion occurred at 12:24 p.m. EDT, with the Earth exactly 94,512,904 miles from the sun. On the flip side, the planet was at its closest to the sun on January 2, during what is called the perihelion. The next perihelion will be Jan. 4, 2017, when the planet will be 91,404,322 miles from the sun, reports CBS News affiliate WPRI.

As the aphelion was happening, some astronomy fans from around the world took to social media to mark the rare occasion.

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