What planet gets closest to Venus? It actually depends on where the planets are in their orbits; but you might be surprised to know that Earth is the closest planet to Venus.
What, you were thinking Mercury gets closer to Venus? At their closest point, Mercury and Venus are separated by only 46 million km. Of course, that’s when the two planets are aligned on the same side of the Sun. When they’re on opposite sides of the Sun, Mercury and Venus are 178.7 million km away from each other.
When Earth and Venus are at their closest point, lined up on the same side of the Sun, they’re only separated by 39 million km. But when they’re on opposite sides of the Sun, Earth and Venus are separated by more than 250 million km. So for most of the time, Mercury and Venus are closer to one another.
But the planet that gets closest to Venus is Earth.
And that’s why Venus looks so large and bright from here on Earth. After the Sun and the Moon, Venus is the brightest object in the night sky. It can even shine so brightly that it casts shadows.
We have written many articles about Venus for Universe Today. Here’s an article about Venus’ wet, volcanic past, and here’s an article about how Venus might have had continents and oceans in the ancient past.
We have recorded a whole episode of Astronomy Cast that’s only about planet Venus. Listen to it here, Episode 50: Venus.