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New study shows Mercury is closer to Earth than Venus
Mercury is closest to all the planets in our solar system.
Until now, we have learned that Venus is the closest planet to Earth. But, scientists might have a different opinion which claims that Mercury is the closest planet to the Earth. Astronomers from NASA showcased a new model that shows planets' orbits revealing that Mercury is closest on average.
In fact, the study claims that Mercury is the closest for every other planet in the solar system. Usually, the average distance is calculated from the planet to the Sun. Earth's distance is 1 astronomical unit (AU), while Venus is around 0.72 AU. This means the distance between the Earth and Venus is 0.28 AU, which is the smallest distance between any pair of planets.
But, the team of scientists realized that the method isn't accurate to calculate distances. Earth spends most of its time on the opposite side of the orbit from Venus, making them 1.72 AU away. The team ran a simulation based on two assumptions: that the planets revolved around the Sun in a circular orbit, and the orbits weren't at an angle relative to each other.
The scientists used a new technique known as the point-circle method for calculating the distance between planets. The method gives out an average distance between a bunch of points on each other's orbit.
After the calculation, Mercury came out to be the closest to our planet. Not just that, but Mercury was also the closest to Saturn, Neptune, and all other planets for that matter. The team mapped the exact location of all planets in their orbits every 24 hours for 10,000 years.
"Suppose you live in a house where the people who live next door to you spend half the year someplace, maybe you live in Wisconsin and your nearest neighbors spend seven months of the long winters in Florida. During the winter, the people in the next house over would be closer to you," said Steven Beckwith, the director of the Space Science Laboratory.