Which Planet is Closest Planet to Earth?

People often think Venus is our nearest planet because of how often it passes so close by us; however, engineers have developed a simulation of the solar system and found that on average Mercury is closer than Venus to us.

Due to elliptical orbits of planets, distance can change with time and thus distance is subject to constant adjustment.


Most people tend to answer Venus as being closest to Earth when asked which planet comes closest. However, it is important to keep in mind that while Venus does come close at times, its distance can also vary considerably due to elliptical orbits in our solar system and where each planet stands during its journey around its orbital path.

Venus, as the hottest planet in our solar system, is famed for its scorching surface temperatures and sulfurous acid clouds that form thick sulfuric rainclouds. Due to these similarities with Earth in terms of size, density, composition and climate. Venus has earned itself the name “Earth’s twin.”

Venus lies within the Sun’s “Goldilocks zone,” suggesting it could once have been habitable. One of the brightest objects in the night sky, Venus has inspired numerous works of art and literature; ancient Greeks called it both morning star and evening star and it featured prominently in Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey; in modern times science fiction writers have set many stories set on Venusian landscape such as Edgar Rice Burroughs (“Pirates of Venus,” 1934), Arthur C Clarke (“Before Eden 1961”) and C S Lewis (“Perelandra 1943”).

Venus is known for its extreme temperatures, dense atmosphere of carbon dioxide that traps heat from the Sun and pushes surface temperatures upwards to 900F (482C). Although life cannot survive under such circumstances, researchers have observed what they believe may be signs of microbiological life at an altitude between 60 to 80 kilometres (40-50 miles), where wind exceeds tornado strength.

Scientists have recently identified molecules consisting of eight sulfur atoms which they believe might form the foundation for life on Venus. Their discovery stemmed from evidence spotted by Venus Express spacecraft between 2005 and 2014 that showed lightning in clouds containing sulfuric acid clouds forming there, suggesting some kind of electrical discharge might play a part in creating chemicals essential to starting life processes.


Mercury may be small in size but has an impressive iron core that accounts for half its interior volume. Furthermore, its thick rocky crust features mountains and valleys punctuated with craters; volcanic activity also plays a significant role in shaping Mercury’s surface.

Mercury’s surface is covered in wrinkle ridges that look as though its skin has been stretched over time, caused by compression as its material cooled, giving Mercury its unique appearance as well as making it extremely hot to the touch. Mercury has an atmosphere consisting of oxygen, sodium, hydrogen, helium as well as trace amounts of potassium argon carbon dioxide nitrogen xenon and krypton gases.

Scientists still are unable to ascertain exactly how Mercury was created, though they think it likely started out much larger than what we see now. One theory suggests a giant impact stripped away most of Mercury’s silicate mantle early in its history leaving only its metal core; another possibility suggests the inner parts of a protoplanetary disk accumulated more metal than silicate over time, leading to Mercury’s unique makeup.

Mercury lies close to the Sun and as such experiences the full force of solar wind at all times, carrying charged particles that strip away what little atmosphere it does have, making breathing difficult. Furthermore, there are no rings and its only moon Hebes is relatively insignificant.

Though most would assume Venus as our nearest planet, according to one method of calculation Mercury may actually be closer. Mercury spends much more time orbiting close to the Sun than Venus does and can even overtake it! Mercury completes one revolution around its Sun every 88 days so if you were living on Mercury you’d celebrate a birthday every three months!


“Which planet is nearest Earth?” may seem straightforward, but in truth it can be quite complex. Because planets orbit the Sun at different speeds, their proximity varies depending on when you ask this question and could range from Mercury, Venus or Mars depending on the day you ask!

Calculating the distance between planets requires dividing their average orbital periods by 2. However, because all planets orbit elliptically rather than circularly, this method of measurement may not always be precise and Venus may often be misidentified as Earth’s nearest neighbor when in fact Mercury is closer.

Venus has long been seen as Earth’s closest neighbor due to their shared characteristics in terms of size, composition and proximity to the Sun. While many believe Venus to be our nearest planet at first glance, it is important to distinguish between proximity and average distance when trying to determine which is closest. Proximity refers to how close two planets are at any particular moment while average distance refers to how closely related two bodies have been over time.

Mars, located approximately 228 million km (140 million miles) away from our Sun, orbits at an approximate distance of about 228,987,000 km (687 days), meaning at certain times during its year it comes closer than others to our Sun.

Mars can reach what is known as an inferior conjunction during its orbit around the Sun. At this stage of its orbital path, it becomes one of the brightest objects visible across much of its path, making an impressionable statement about where it stands in space and time. When Mars gets close enough for humans to spot it from Earth’s perspective.

Mars will come close to Earth again in 2024 and can be observed as one of the brightest objects in the night sky. Mars is at its hottest and most active phase during this phase, making this phase especially fascinating from Earth.


Pluto is an intriguing and mysterious world, its nitrogen cliffs and skyscraper-sized shards of ice evoking an air of mystery and beauty. Images taken on its far side reveal possible signs that liquid water exists – this may include cracks canyons and craters on its surface – suggesting this dwarf planet may hold liquid water resources as well. Furthermore, large mountains and battered craters suggest its geology has undergone drastic change since its creation.

Pluto’s status as a planet has long been subject to debate, especially after being downgraded from full planet status by the International Astronomical Union in 2006. Astronomers from both camps had strong opinions about this decision by IAU; schoolchildren around the globe especially took offense at not being considered an actual planet anymore; this decision cited that Pluto didn’t cleave away space rocks like larger planets do and thus didn’t necessitate an independent classification system like other planets do.

However, Pluto remains an intriguing world to study, and its mysteries continue to unfold. A New Horizons flyby in 2015 revealed the dwarf planet was more active than anyone had anticipated; featuring icy nitrogen cliffs similar to Norway’s rugged coast; large methane ice fragments towering higher than skyscrapers; cracks deeper than Grand Canyon; as well as its far side featuring an unexpected heart-shaped feature which sent ripples through Pluto fans worldwide.

Scientists are also learning more about Pluto’s four moons, which are smaller than Earth’s moon and don’t face our planet as ours does. Additionally, they’re studying its thick atmosphere’s gradual transformation with nitrogen forming flat sheets while methane forms gas bubbles erupting from it over time.

Astronomers continue to uncover new strange worlds lurking beyond our solar system. Makemake and Haumea were discovered as early as 1992 – two icy objects about one-tenth the width of Pluto that may exist elsewhere in the Kuiper belt.

Physics Today published this week an opinion piece suggesting Mercury as the closest planet to Earth over Venus. To calculate distances between planets using a new mathematical technique that takes time into account rather than subtracting average distances between each orbit of each planet’s orbit from that of Venus; therefore showing Mercury to actually be closer.

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