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In a conclusion that is likely to provoke more than one barfight, researchers at Physics Today have broken the numbers and found that the closest planet to Earth on average is not Venus, as we are taught, but Mercury.
We all learned this at school, right? "My excellent mother just gave us nine pizzas." The planets disintegrate further as you move further out of the sun, therefore Venus is closer to Earth than Mars, or another planet.
The problem is that only at certain specific times is that true, according to the people at Physics Today. While & # 39; no other planet is getting closer to Earth & # 39; then Venus, three researchers wrote in an article on Tuesday: "Just as often are the two planets furthest away," at which time they are both the distance from their own orbit plus the orbit of the other planet from each other.
When they are closest to each other, Venus and the Earth are only 0.28 astronomical units (AU) apart, with 1 AE being the distance from the Earth to the Sun. However, Mercury, the planet closest to the sun, swims around our star every 90 days, while Venus costs 225 Earth days, and the Earth, well, 365 Earth days. That means that Mercury is more often in opposition to the earth, but also that it is more often at the closest point to the earth.
With the help of fancy math these social sciences do not understand, but the people of Physics Today were able to prove that the average distance from Venus to Earth is 1.14 AU and that Mercury is 1.04 AU.
This is what will really cause you to boil blood: "Mercury is, on average, the closest neighbor to each of the other seven planets in the solar system," the researchers said. That is because although all outer planets are very, very far away from the sun (and from Mercury), they are also very far apart, because they are arranged around the solar system, because they orbit the Earth. different speeds.
Mars, for example, needs 1.8 earth years to circle in the sun; Jupiter takes 12 earthy years, while Saturn takes 29 earthy years, Uranus a persistent 84 earthy years, Neptune 165 earthy years and Pluto a seemingly eternal 248 year, according to Universe Today.
So the same principle applies to them and Mercury as to Earth and Venus: their average distance to Mercury is approximately their distance to the sun, while their average distance to other planets is often much greater than their orbit.
Make sure you are out of haymaker range if you tell your friends!