Which planet is most often closest to the Earth?

The closest planet to the Earth varies depending on where the various planets are in their orbits. So which planet is most often closest to the Earth?

The approximate statistics for which planet is closest to the Earth are:
Mercury: 46% of the time
Venus: 36% of the time
Mars: 18% of the time

It is a bit counterintuitive, because Venus’s orbit is closest to Earth’s orbit. Mars’s orbit is not much further. But Venus and/or Mars are often a long way away from Earth, on the opposite side of the Sun.

However, being so close to the Sun, Mercury is never as far away. At those times, Mercury is usually closer. And overall, it’s closest 46% of the time!

[My thanks to my friend Nick Hobson for drawing this information to my attention. He discovered it from this episode of the radio programme “More Or Less”.]


XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>