Which Planet is Closest to Earth?

Many people ask which planet is nearest the earth, yet finding an accurate answer can be challenging due to how all planets orbit elliptically rather than circularly and can come close at different times.

Mercury tends to be closer than Venus on average, even though it often goes unnoticed in comparison with larger and more prominent planets like Venus.


While Mercury may often be considered the closest planet to Earth, that title belongs to Venus according to a new study. This phenomenon stems from solar system’s noncircular orbit which causes each planet’s path slightly different than any of the others and thus gives Venus its spot as closest planet.

At its closest approach to the Sun, a planet’s closest point is known as its perihelion. On average, this typically happens during early January; however, its exact date can differ year to year due to complex astronomical calculations that take into account both Kepler’s laws of planetary motion and Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation. For Earth this date typically falls somewhere around early March but can vary according to year due to Earth being subject to these calculations and Newton’s Universal Law.

At this point, the planet’s polar ice caps melt, and winter comes to the Northern Hemisphere while summer sets in on its southern counterpart. Additionally, during this period our planet heats up as surface temperatures rise and ocean waters boil away, emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that drives its weather systems and allows life on our planet to exist.

Earth is home to more than just its proximity to the Sun; scientists continue to search for ways to make our home habitable for life. Scientists emphasize the need to find an optimal balance of chemical cycles, water supplies and protection against radiation for planet Earth to become habitable for human habitation.

Researchers examined over 10,000 years of solar system observations with a formula that considered both average distances between planets and minimum possible ones, using Venus as their starting point. On average, Venus was closest, followed by Mercury and Mars. They also determined that every so-called Earth-like planet found so far, even ones approximately the same size and within their star’s Goldilocks Zones, did not necessarily support life like their counterpart Earth – instead, more likely they resembled Venus due to its thick atmosphere than any such possibility would.


Venus, one of our solar system’s hottest planets, also happens to be one of our closest neighbors on Earth. On average, Venus lies only 43 million miles from us on average; this distance may differ slightly depending on where Venus lies in its orbit – this is why some scientists use an alternative method of defining it that takes into account every planet’s orbital period as well.

This method reveals that Venus can sometimes be the closest planet to Earth, though not always. At its closest approach (called perihelion ), Venus lies approximately 67 million miles from the Sun; at its farthest approach (called aphelion), however, Venus lies approximately 107 million miles away – closer than Mercury but not as near at other perihelions.

The difference in values arises because planets do not orbit in perfect circles but instead follow slightly elliptical paths, meaning that Venus spends less time than Mercury on one side of the Sun at certain points, meaning at times Venus may even become closer to our home planet than Mercury is. At other points however, Mercury becomes closer still.

Venus may one day dislodge Mercury as the closest planet to Earth due to this millennia-long shift in distance; experts anticipate it could regain this title after 2023 when Venus reaches inferior conjunction with Sun.

Even though Venus is too hot and dry for life to exist, scientists continue to explore it as an object of curiosity. Their studies shed light on how similar conditions could develop here on Earth; early telescopic observations revealed the planet had once had lush carboniferous atmosphere which has since evaporated away and today the surface is so fragile as to have earned itself the nickname “venus tongue.” Other features of the planet include valleys, high mountains, an atmosphere composed of nearly entirely carbon dioxide at least 90 times thicker than our own and an ocean that has long since run its course.


If Mars appears unusually large this weekend, don’t be fooled into thinking otherwise – it is not your imagination – the red planet is coming closer than ever to Earth and will shine brighter than before. This phenomenon occurs annually as its orbit nears opposition – in this year it comes closer than any time since 2003! With a telescope you may even be able to spot features like its polar ice caps and water-ice clouds!

Mars is visible this time because it has reached its perihelion, the point in its orbit where it comes closest to the Sun. This occurs every 18 months and brings Mars within 35 million miles of Earth – this year from Friday night through Monday night! After this point it will move further away and eventually return as distant object in the night sky.

Astronomers employ an alternative method for determining which planet is closest to Earth: measuring how long light takes to travel between each planet. While this technique does have some drawbacks, it remains the most widely-used approach and provides differing results depending on whether two points in space or over a certain period are measured; for instance, measuring Earth and Mars over 10 000 years reveals Mercury is our nearest neighbour on average.

Measuring Earth and Venus over an equal period reveals that Mars is closer on average. But this method disregards that not all orbital periods are equal and that an average does not tell the entire story.

To truly grasp what’s happening, one needs to examine both planets’ orbital periods. Mars has a shorter orbit than that of Earth; thus it spends more time between its closest approach to and farthest distance from the sun than does Venus, making Mars much closer than her in terms of proximity to our home planet.


As the innermost planet in our solar system, Mercury is closest to Earth. It takes just 88 days for Mercury to complete its orbit around the Sun due to its small size and rapid rotation; each day on Mercury seems much shorter than one on Venus or Earth due to these factors. If searching for Mercury in the sky, observe at sunset and again 15 minutes post sunset when Mercury will be at its greatest eastern elongation and visible in western twilight.

People often associate Venus as being closest to Earth; after all, its orbit brings it closest. But according to a new model of planets’ orbits, Mercury may actually be closer than expected on average.

Engineers from Los Alamos National Observatory and US Army’s Engineer Research Development Center created a computer simulation of our solar system that enabled them to track each planet as it moved through its orbit, then use this data to ascertain which planet was closest to Earth on average over a 10,000 year period. While Venus does get close at times, most of its time was actually spent orbiting opposite side of Sun. Mercury however spent more time away than near but both spent considerable time outward.

Mercury may be close to the Sun, but despite this proximity it does not experience hot temperatures like Venus and Mars. Instead, Mercury is an exceptionally cool planet with an extremely thin atmosphere and surfaces ranging from warm to bitterly cold temperatures. Furthermore, Mercury is one of the most active planets in our solar system with violent solar storms and magnetic reversals regularly happening here.

Mercury orbits close to Earth and other inner planets such as Venus due to its tidally locked orbit; therefore it remains relatively close.

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