Which planet is actually closest to Earth?

The order of the planets in the Solar System, moving outward from the Sun, does not change.

Venus is the next planet inward from Earth, toward the Sun, and Mars is the next planet outward from the Sun. Of those two, Venus comes closer to Earth than Mars on their respective closest approaches. So, it is more correct to say that Venus comes closer to Earth than other planets.

Confusion arises when talking about the average distance between planets.

Now, Mercury, being closer to the Sun than Venus, orbits the Sun faster than our 'nearest’ neighbor. Also, Mercury’s greatest distance from Earth (when it is on the opposite side of the Sun) is much less than that of Venus.

These facts mean that if we average the distance between Earth and these two planets, Mercury is closer to Earth on average. It turns out that Venus averages 1.14 astronomical units (AU) from Earth, but Mercury averages only 1.04 AU from Earth. AU is a unit of length equal to the average distance between the Earth and the Sun.

A recent analysis showed that for two bodies with concentric and circular orbits approximately in the same plane, the average distance between the two bodies decreases as the radius of the inner orbit decreases.

This seems counterintuitive. This means that Mercury is not only the closest planet to Earth on average, but also the closest planet on average to the other seven planets in the Solar System!

More like this

But the fact that Venus comes very close to Earth does not change.

READ  Bird numbers decline in early spring due to warming climate, study finds

read more:

By: Conrad Owen, York

To submit your questions, email [email protected] (don’t forget to include your name and location)

Dodaj komentarz

Twój adres e-mail nie zostanie opublikowany. Wymagane pola są oznaczone *