How Far are the Planets from the Sun?

by Fraser Cain on July 8, 2008

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To answer this question, we’ll consider the distance from each of the planets to the Sun. Before we start though, there’s a term in astronomy that you’ll want to remember: astronomical unit. One astronomical unit (or AU) is the distance from the Earth to the Sun.

You should also note that all of the 9 planets orbit the Sun in ellipses. This means that their distance to the Sun varies depending on what point they are in their orbits. Astronomers call the closest point perihelion, and the most distant point aphelion.

As a special bonus, I’ll also let you know the closest point that all planets get to Earth.

Closest: 46 million km (.307 AU)
Furthest: 70 million km (.466 AU)
Average: 57 million km (.387 AU)

Closest to Mercury from Earth: 77.3 million km

Closest: 107 million km (.718 AU)
Furthest: 109 million km (.728 AU)
Average: 108 million km (.722 AU)

Closest to Venus from Earth: 40 million km

Closest: 147 million km (.98 AU)
Furthest: 152 million km (1.1 AU)
Average: 150 million km (1 AU)

Closest: 205 million km (1.38 AU)
Furthest: 249 million km (1.66 AU)
Average: 228 million km (1.52 AU)

Closest to Mars from Earth: 65 million km

Closest: 741 million km (4.95 AU)
Furthest: 817 million km (5.46 AU)
Average: 779 million km (5.20 AU)

Closest to Jupiter from Earth: 588 million km

Closest: 1.35 billion km (9.05 AU)
Furthest: 1.51 billion km (10.12 AU)
Average: 1.43 billion km (9.58 AU)

Closest to Saturn from Earth: 1.2 billion km

Closest: 2.75 billion km (18.4 AU)
Furthest: 3.00 billion km (20.1 AU)
Average: 2.88 billion km (19.2 AU)

Closest to Uranus from Earth: 2.57 billion km

Closest: 4.45 billion km (29.8 AU)
Furthest: 4.55 billion km (30.4 AU)
Average: 4.50 billion km (30.1 AU)

Closest to Neptune from Earth: 4.3 billion km

As a special bonus, we’ll include Pluto too, even though Pluto is not a planet anymore.

Closest: 4.44 billion km (29.7 AU)
Furthest: 7.38 billion km (49.3 AU)
Average: 5.91 billion km (39.5 AU)

Closest to Pluto from Earth: 4.28 billion km


Fraser Cain is the publisher of Universe Today. He's also the co-host of Astronomy Cast with Dr. Pamela Gay.

lisa September 29, 2008 at 8:45 AM

i like solar systems

april November 12, 2008 at 2:40 AM

actually i relly excited to read ur news about the planets…we really appreciated you good luck in your next project..

Dallas January 4, 2009 at 1:04 PM

Your a life saver tomorrow my sience projects due and i forgot my book at school thanks so much!!!!!!!

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