Which Planet is Closest to Earth?

Many people believe Venus to be Earth’s nearest planet; this may not entirely be correct as Venus does sometimes draw closer than Mars at certain times.

Mercury is our closest neighboring planet because it has a smaller orbital path.

Mercury is an intriguing planet, boasting extreme temperatures and unanswered mysteries that make it an appealing target for space exploration.


When asked which planet is closest to Earth, most people will answer Venus. While they are correct in answering that way, astronomers use different criteria when determining the “closest planet”. When making their determination they subtract from each planet’s average orbital distance the distance of the sun; this number is known as an astronomical unit (AU). Venus tends to be nearer the Sun than any other planet but can also become further away at certain times of year.

Venus, often considered an ancient deity or goddess by many ancient cultures, is the brightest planet visible from Earth’s night sky and second hottest planet after Mercury in terms of temperature. Additionally, its dense atmosphere of carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide clouds gives Venus its greenhouse effect; furthermore its surface has few craters, suggesting its surface may still be relatively young; in contrast it has both mountainous regions with uncratered upland plateaus as well as vast lava plains in its northern regions and southern plains regions – making Venus both physically very hotter than Mercury!

Mars orbits the Sun in an elliptical fashion similar to Earth, meaning it comes close to Venus at certain points while being far away at others. When Mars is closest to Venus it experiences inferior conjunction, which occurs every 584 days when all three bodies line up along one plane – an event called an inferior conjunction.

At its closest point to Earth, Venus can be more than 162-million miles (261-million kilometers). At certain points in its orbit, however, Venus can come much closer. On average, Venus is closer to us than any other planet except Mercury in our Solar System.


Venus and Mars resemble Earth in many ways, being terrestrial planets with thick atmospheres that rotate on 24-hour cycles and seasons, though Mars is much smaller. Both planets feature two moons named Phobos and Deimos while Venus lacks any of its own satellites; several missions have been sent to Mars including orbiters and landers but no humans have ever lived there yet despite both having polar caps and water features on their surfaces; Mars’ surface however tends to be much drier.

Venus is the brightest object in our night sky and most people believe that it is closest to Earth; however, this assumption is incorrect! Mercury actually lies closer on average. To discover why, Los Alamos National Laboratory and US Army Engineer Research Development Center conducted an intensive solar system simulation over 10,000 years and calculated when each planet approached our home planet; ultimately concluding that Mercury was closer on average than Venus or Mars.

Venus and Mars can vary significantly in distance over time depending on where they are in their orbits, with Venus sometimes coming closest to Earth during an inferior conjunction with the Sun every 584 days; on the other hand, Mars could reach its maximum distance when in superior conjunction – something which only occurs every 386 days.

Although both planets orbit far away from our home planet Earth, they still make frequent approaches. Venus passes closest to our home at 0.255 AU while Mars can come as close as 0.365 AU away.

So if you’re planning a vacation and are in search of the next great travel spot, Mars might be the right place. It’s cheaper and more Earth-like than Venus; perhaps even offering potential support for life forms. However, for closer proximity and closest planet to our own Earth Mercury should probably be given priority.


Most people would respond with Venus as being closest to Earth; we may have memorized the order of planets from school, where Venus comes first in that list. According to new research however, Mercury may actually be closer than previously assumed.

Scientists developed a computer simulation that allowed them to observe the position of each of the planets over thousands of simulated years, with researchers annually calculating distances between each pair of planets; over time they discovered that Mercury was generally closer than any of the other seven planets within our solar system.

Mars and Venus do not always orbit closest to Earth due to different orbital paths around the Sun. Venus has an elliptical orbit which means it sometimes comes close while at other times far away; Mars’ more circular path allows less often for closeness.

To determine which planet was closest to Earth based on their orbits, scientists created a computer model which tracked each planet over 10,000 years and divided their orbital periods into segments before averaging their distance between each segment – this enabled them to discover which was usually nearest of all.

Their findings were astounding: as planets moved closer together, their orbits more frequently overlapped with each other. This occurred most frequently at perihelion (when planets are closest to the Sun), when all inner planets came within 0.24 AU of each other. Aphelion (when planets are farthest from Sun) and opposition (when their distance from Sun is greatest). Mercury held onto this position for an unprecedented length of time with every other planet in our Solar System.


Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system and features a faint ring system and at least 79 moons, four of which may qualify as active worlds ranging in size from just smaller than Earth’s Moon to larger than Mercury. Three moons named Ganymede, Io and Europa may hold liquid water oceans under their icy surfaces – challenging our understanding of where life exists in space.

Jupiter is most easily identified by its iconic Great Red Spot, an enormous oval storm which has been raging for more than 350 years and located near its south equator near where you’d expect it. Binoculars or finder scope can help locate this feature; just remember it moves fast! Ideally look out for it during twilight sky or nighttime once sundown has occurred when scanning for it as this feature.

Venus, commonly referred to as Earth’s sister planet, can often be seen as our evening or morning star. Venus lies just 100 million miles from the sun – yet its climate differs drastically from our own; surface temperatures reach 900 F (465 C), its atmosphere dense enough for carbon dioxide compression into supercritical states which generate immense pressure that would crush and kill anyone on its surface.

However, Jupiter remains one of the greatest planets for life in our solar system. As one of the inner planets, it rises near sunset and sets near sunrise allowing viewers to watch a “planet-rise” in the east and “planet-set” in the west. At present it’s passing through Aries constellation, and can be seen all year round depending on weather conditions – for optimal viewing, clear skies without smoke or dust can help locate Jupiter in the sky at any given time – use our online planetarium tool at any given moment!

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