A claim went viral on social media that “Aphelion Phenomenon” will cause severe cold environment starting from 10th July 2022 till August 2022 with serious health concerns like fever, cough, shortness of breath etc. as the distance between sun and earth will increase by 66% (90,000,000 km to 152,000,000 km).
(Widespread of claim on Facebook)
In order to verify the claim, we searched for keyword “Aphelion Phenomenon 2022” on google search engine and found a research article from University of South Maine. The Planetarium at the University of Southern Maine explains that this 3-million-mile difference is not enough to impact temperatures. While claims that the Earth is “5 light minutes” or 90,000,000 kilometers (about 56 million miles) away from the sun are wrong.
On average, the Earth is about 93 million miles (about 150 million kilometers) away from the sun, or a little more than 8 light-minutes. As the earth’s orbit is elliptical, the distance between the Earth and the sun varies throughout the year. During the perihelion, the closest point between the Earth and the sun, the planets are separated by about 91.5 million miles. At the aphelion, the earth is about 3 million miles further away. This is about a 7% difference, not 66% as claimed in this post.
Our fact-check confirmed that the claims “Aphelion Phenomenon” will cause severe low temperatures is false, and the calculation of distance from earth is also false.
ABCDE Framework-Based Analysis
|Actor||Independent accounts on Facebook are involved in disseminating disinformation.|
|Behavior||“Aphelion phenomenon” and its bad effects were shared through social media posts.|
|Content||Social media posts.|
|Degree||The target audience was the general public, this false claim created a hoax which was mainly shared on Facebook. No synthetic means were used to make content viral.|
|Effect||Hoaxes are being spread to mislead people about climate change and its effect on health.|