Pluto and its moons. Image credit: Hubble

Distance to Pluto

Article Updated: 24 Dec , 2015


Pluto has the most elliptical orbit of all the planets and dwarf planets. In addition to this widely varying orbital distance, Pluto is also highly inclined, orbiting above and below the planet of the ecliptic that the rest of the planets follow.

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Pluto Distance from the Sun
Since Pluto orbits the Sun, like the rest of the planets and dwarf planets, astronomers typically measure the distance of Pluto in terms of Astronomical Units (AU). 1 AU measures the distance of the Earth to the Sun.

At its closest point, Pluto is only 29 astronomical units from the Sun (4.4 billion km or 2.75 billion miles). And at its most distant, it can be 49 AU (7.29 billion km, or 4.53 billion miles) from the Sun. In addition to being highly elliptical however, Pluto’s orbit is also inclined at an angle of over 17-degrees. At some points along its orbit, Pluto is above the plane of the ecliptic that the planets follow, and at other times, it’s below.

Pluto’s average distance from the Sun is 40 astronomical units (5.91 billion km or 3.67 billion miles).

Distance From Earth to Pluto
The Earth is only 1 AU from the Sun. When the Earth and Pluto are perfectly lined up with the Sun, their closest point is approximately 28 astronomical units. And at their furthest point, when Earth is on the opposite side of the Sun, Pluto can be 50 astronomical units.

1 Response

  1. Steve Feldman says:

    I am a 3rd grade teacher, and my students wanted to know how long it would take to travel from Earth to Pluto.

    Thank you very much.
    Steve Feldman and 3rd Grade Munchkins
    (Oswalt Academy)

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