One among the three gas giants, Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system. Despite Jupiter’s distance from the Earth, you can always see it shining brightly in the sky, which may lead you to wonder how far Jupiter is from us.
And, in this article, we’ll discuss what Jupiter’s current distance is from Earth.
Ready? Let’s get started…
How Far Is Jupiter: Short Summary
A beautiful, shiny object in the evening sky, Jupiter always shines very brightly, but at times, it may seem that it is shining brighter than usual.
This is probably because, at times, the planet may be closer to Earth, although the closeness changes over time.
At its closest, Jupiter is around 365 million miles (587 million kilometers) away from Earth, and its farthest, the planet is around 601 million miles (961 million kilometers) away.
Distance Of Jupiter From Earth
Just like all other planets in the solar system, Jupiter too orbits around the sun in an elliptical orbit.
The elliptical shape of the orbit means that the distance of Jupiter from the sun, as well as Earth, keeps changing depending on where both planets are in their orbits.
At the times when Jupiter is behind the sun, where the Sun, Earth and Jupiter are aligned in a straight line, Jupiter is the farthest from Earth, at 601 million miles away from our planet.
Jupiter’s closest approach to Earth occurs when both the planets move in their own orbits and they come in line with the sun and are both on the same side as the sun.
At this time, Jupiter is the closest to Earth, at around 365 million miles. And, you can see Jupiter at its largest and brightest in the sky.
During this time, the Earth is at the center, between the sun and Jupiter. This is known as opposition because, at this time, Jupiter is on the opposite side of the sun. Jupiter’s oppositions occur once every 13 months i.e., every 399 days.
So, when you consider the question, how far away is Jupiter from Earth, you can see that there is no exact answer to this because the position of this large planet keeps varying and so does the distance of the planet from Earth.
When Is Jupiter Closest to Earth?
Jupiter and Earth are the closest at Jupiter’s inferior conjunction or perihelion when both the planets are on the same side of the sun. The closest distance is around 365 million miles (587 million kilometers).
The orbits of Jupiter and Earth ensure that this occurs once in 13 months. The closest approach between Earth and Jupiter occurred in 2010 when the approach was 75 million miles closer compared to previous oppositions.
Some of the future inferior conjunctions of Jupiter and Earth include:
- 26 September 2022: 367 million miles (590 million kilometers)
- 3 November 2023: 369 million miles (595 million kilometers)
- 7 December 2024: 380 million miles (611 million kilometers)
- 10 January 2026: 393 million miles (632 million kilometers)
- 10 February 2027: 405 million miles (652 million kilometers)
- 12 March 2028: 412 million miles (664 million kilometers)
- 11 April 2029: 413 million miles (665 million kilometers)
- 13 May 2030: 408 million miles (656 million kilometers)
When Is Jupiter Farthest From Earth?
Jupiter is farthest from the Earth during solar conjunctions, and the maximum distance between the two planets is around 601 million miles (961 million kilometers).
During this time, Jupiter is on the other side of the sun and, because of the glare of the sun, it is not possible to view the planet. At this time, Jupiter is the smallest in size and also the faintest.
Some of the future solar conjunctions when Jupiter and Earth are at the farthest distance from each other include:
- 11 April 2023: 553 million miles (890 million kilometers)
- 18 May 2024: 560 million miles (902 million kilometers)
- 24 June 2025: 572 million miles (921 million kilometers)
- 29 July 2026: 585 million miles (942 million kilometers)
- 31 August 2027: 595 million miles (958 million kilometers)
- 30 September 2028: 599 million miles (964 million kilometers)
- 30 October 2029: 596 million miles (960 million kilometers)
- 30 November 2030: 588 million miles (946 million kilometers)
What Is The Average Distance Between Earth And Jupiter?
Jupiter’s closest and farthest distances from the Earth occur every 13 months. But the average distance between the two planets is usually around 385 million miles (611 million kilometers).
But when you consider the distances between Jupiter and Earth, it is important to remember that the distances mentioned in the article are not exact and are approximations.
How Long Does It Take To Travel To Jupiter?
So, now that we know the average, closest and farthest distances between Jupiter and Earth, we can go on to discuss how long it will take if you want to travel to Jupiter.
To do this, we will first discuss how long it takes for light to travel from Jupiter to Earth. And then we’ll discuss the scenario of how long it will take for you to travel from Earth to Jupiter on a spaceship.
Time Taken For Light To Travel From Jupiter To Earth
As we already know, light travels at very fast speeds, at around 186,000 miles/second (300,000 kilometers/second).
And, now, let’s discuss what is the average, shortest and longest time for light to travel from Jupiter to Earth.
- Average Distance: 385 million miles (611 million kilometers) = 2,070 seconds (34 minutes and 5 seconds)
- Shortest Distance: 365 million miles (587 million kilometers) = 1,962 seconds (32 minutes and 7 seconds)
- Farthest Distance: 601 million miles (961 million kilometers) = 3,231 seconds (54 minutes and 25 seconds)
So, as you can see, the average time for light to travel from Jupiter to Earth is around 34 minutes 5 seconds.
And, because both Earth and Jupiter revolve around the sun, the time for light to travel from Jupiter to Earth varies between 32 minutes and 7 seconds and 54 minutes and 25 seconds, depending on the position of both the planets.
Time Taken For A Spaceship To Travel From Earth To Jupiter
How quickly you can get to Jupiter not only depends on the orbit but also on how fast you are traveling. You must consider how fast the rocket or spacecraft is going.
If the rocket is traveling at the speed of light i.e., at 186,000 miles/second (300,000 kilometers/second), then it will mean that you will reach Jupiter in around 43 minutes.
But since a rocket cannot travel at the speed of light, the time to reach the planet will depend on the speed of the rocket/spacecraft and also the path that is taken.
To know how long it will take to travel from earth to Jupiter, we must consider some of the previous space missions to the planet. For instance, a spacecraft sent to Jupiter in 1989 took over six years to reach the planet.
Because the spacecraft did not take a straight path from Earth to Jupiter, it took such a long time. In another space mission to Jupiter, in 2006, the spacecraft took a direct path to the planet and this took around 13 months to complete.
The time taken by both these spacecraft to reach Jupiter was different because of the path taken by the craft and also the speed of the spacecraft.
The more direct the route taken and the faster the speed of travel, the less time taken for the spacecraft to reach Jupiter.
Some of the space missions to Jupiter include:
- Pioneer 10: March 1972: 640 days
- Pioneer 11: April 1973, 606 days
- Voyager 1: September 1977, 546 days
- Voyager 2: August 1977, 688 days
- Galileo: October 1989, 2,242 days
- Juno: August 2011, 1,795 days
So, in short, the time taken to reach Jupiter from Earth depends on the path taken in space, the speed at which the spacecraft travels and also the location of the planets in their orbits.
And, it can take between 546 days (17.9 months) and 2,242 days (6.1 years) to reach Jupiter.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is There Potential For Life On Jupiter?
Jupiter’s environment is not conducive to supporting life. The extreme pressures, temperatures and materials of this gaseous planet are too volatile for any organism to adapt and survive.
What Is Jupiter Made Of?
Jupiter has a composition that is very similar to the sun and comprises mainly hydrogen and helium.
How Long Is a Year On Jupiter?
12 Earth years make up one Jovian year. So, Jupiter completes one revolution around the sun once in 12 years because it has a very large orbit to cover.
Summary & Conclusion
In conclusion, when you consider the question of how far away is Jupiter from Earth, there is no exact answer.
The distance between the 2 planets depends on where they are in their individual orbits and is usually measured in terms of the average, shortest and farthest distance from one another.
The average distance between Earth and Jupiter is around 385 million miles (611 million kilometers), the closest distance between the two is around 365 million miles (587 million kilometers) and at the farthest, the distance between both planets is around 601 million miles (961 million kilometers).
And, when you consider the time it will take to travel to Jupiter from Earth, it can take between 546 days (17.9 months) and 2,242 days (6.1 years).