Also known as the morning and evening star, Venus is the closest planet to Earth and is the brightest object in the sky, other than the sun and moon.
And, if you’re wondering how far away is Venus from Earth, read this article to know more.
Ready? Let’s get started…
How Far Is Venus: Short Summary
Venus is the 2nd planet from the sun and the closest to the Earth. So, how far away is Venus?
Venus is at a distance of around 25 million miles (40 million kilometers) from the Earth, but the actual distance depends on the position of both Earth and Venus in their own orbits.
Why Does The Distance Between Venus And Earth Keep Changing?
All the planets, including Earth and Venus, travel in their own elliptical orbits around the sun and so the distance between the planets keeps varying.
Of all the planets, Venus’s orbit is the most circular and how close or far we are from Venus depends largely on the Earth’s orbit.
The farthest distance between Venus and Earth is when Venus is on the opposite side of the sun from the Earth i.e. when it reaches the superior conjunction.
Venus is approximately at a distance of 162 million miles (261 million kilometers) from the Earth at the farthest.
Venus and Earth are the closest at the inferior conjunction point that occurs once in every 584 days when Venus, Earth and the sun are all in a straight line and the Earth and Venus are on the same side as the sun.
The inferior conjunction occurs on the Earth’s orbit, which is the least curved when the Earth is closest to the sun or at the perihelion. The orbits of both Earth and Venus are mathematically interconnected and they repeat every 5 conjunctions exactly in 8 years.
This essentially means that at any given conjunction, the distance between Venus and Earth will be almost the same in the time of the 5 conjunctions.
So, when the question is asked how far away is Venus from Earth, there is no single answer to this and the distance is usually referred to in terms of average, closest and farthest distances.
When Is Venus Closest to Earth?
Earth and Venus are closest to one another at their inferior conjunction and this shortest distance is around 24.8 million miles (40 million kilometers).
The last inferior conjunction occurred on 8 January 2022, when Venus and Earth were at a distance of 24.7 million miles (39.8 million kilometers) from each other.
Some of the future inferior conjunctions that will occur include:
- 12 August 2023: 26.8 million miles (43.2 million kilometers)
- 23 March 2025: 26.1 million miles (42 million kilometers)
Over time, with the changes that have occurred in the Earth’s orbit, the minimum distance between Venus and Earth has increased, and since 1623, both the planets have not been closer than 24.5 million miles (39.2 million kilometers).
And, it is estimated that after 5683, Venus and Earth will not come within 24.8 million miles (40 million kilometers) for over 60,000 years.
When Is Venus Farthest From Earth?
Venus and Earth are the farthest from each other at the superior conjunction point. These maximum distances occur when the Earth is near or at the aphelion of the farthest distance from the sun.
The maximum distance between the two planets is around 161.6 million miles (260 million kilometers).
Some of the future superior conjunctions that will occur include:
- 23 October 2023: 159.6 million miles (256.9 million kilometers)
- 4 June 2024: 161.3 million miles (259.6 million kilometers)
- 6 January 2026: 159.1 million miles (256 million kilometers)
What Is The Average Distance Between Earth And Venus?
The closest and farthest approaches to Venus occur approximately once every 19 months. In the meantime, the average distance between Earth and Venus is around 42.2 million miles (68 million kilometers).
But since the distance throughout the orbit varies a lot and the distance between both planets change on a daily basis, the average distance is only an approximation.
Is Venus Closer To Earth Than Mars?
Although both Venus as well as Mars, are considered Earth’s sister planets, just one of them can be closest to Earth.
Mars is at a distance of around 117 million miles (188 million kilometers) away from Earth and is considerably farther away from Earth compared to Venus. In fact, Mars is 3x further away from Earth than Venus.
The closest distance that Mars came to Earth was 36 million miles (57.6 million kilometers) in July 2018, and it will not come that close to Earth again until September 2035.
So, even at the closest distance to Earth, Mars is still around 10 million miles farther away compared to Venus at its closest approach to Earth.
How Long Does It Take To Travel To Venus?
If you want to know how long it will take for you to travel from Earth to Venus, it is first important to understand how long it takes for light to travel from Venus to Earth. And, then we will discuss how long it will take a spaceship to travel to Venus.
Time Taken For Light To Travel From Venus To Earth
Light travels extremely fast, at over 186,000 miles/second (300,000 kilometers/second).
So, when you consider the time that it takes for light to cover the average, shortest and longest distances between Venus and Earth, the times taken are as below:
- Average Distance: 42.2 million miles (68 million kilometers) = 227 seconds (3 minutes and 46 seconds)
- Shortest Distance: 24.8 million miles (40 million kilometers) = 133 seconds (2 minutes and 13 seconds)
- Farthest Distance: 161.6 million miles (260 million kilometers) = 869 seconds (14 minutes and 29 seconds)
So, at the average distance of around 42.2 million miles between Venus and Earth, the light from Venus takes around 3 minutes 46 seconds to reach Earth.
And, since the planets orbit around the sun, this time ranges between 2 minutes 13 seconds and 14 minutes 29 seconds.
Time Taken For A Spaceship To Travel From Earth To Venus
Traveling to Venus is not an easy task because the planets are constantly orbiting around the sun and so, this needs to be considered when traveling in a spaceship.
Further, the spaceship must escape the Earth’s gravitational pull and then enter the gravitational pull of Venus.
And so, when you consider the time taken for space travel from Earth to Venus, the route is not a direct straight line between planet A to planet B, where you start from Earth and land up on Venus.
The movement of the planets adds to the time it takes to travel. The best way to find out the time it will take from Earth to Venus is to measure the actual travel times from previous successful missions.
For instance, in 1962, Mariner 2 took 109 days to reach Venus from Earth. In 1975, the Venera 10 took 131 days and in 2005, the Venus Express took 153 days. You can see the complete list of space missions to Venus from Earth here.
In short, the least amount of time taken by a spacecraft from Earth to Venus was around 3.5 months (109 days), whereas the longest was around 6.5 months (198 days). Most of the space journeys from Earth to Venus take around 120-130 days i.e., around 4 months.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Does Venus Appear To Be So Bright?
The main factor why Venus is the second brightest object in the sky after the moon is because it is very close to the Earth. Also, Venus has a cloud cover, which is extremely reflective and bounces a lot of light in the direction of the Earth.
What Is The Color of Venus?
Venus appears to be light yellowish because it has an atmosphere of thick carbon dioxide and clouds of sulphuric acid.
Why Is Venus Uninhabitable For Humans?
Venus has an atmosphere that comprises carbon dioxide and clouds of sulphuric acid, which create a greenhouse effect and traps the heat near the surface, making the surface temperatures extremely hot, around 863°F (462°C), which makes Venus the hottest planet in the Solar System.
Also, Venus has an atmospheric pressure that is 90x that of Earth. Further, Venus is very dry because the extremely hot temperatures make it impossible for water to exist. All these conditions make Venus uninhabitable for humans.
In conclusion, when you consider how far Venus is from Earth, it is not possible to determine the exact distance between both planets because the distance between them depends on where both planets are in their orbits at any given point in time.
So, the distances are usually measured as the shortest, average and farthest distance between the two planets, where the average distance is 42.2 million miles (68 million kilometers), the shortest distance is 24.8 million miles (40 million kilometers) and the farthest distance is 162 million miles (261 million kilometers) approximately between Venus and Earth.
And, now that you know how far Venus is from Earth, you can enjoy viewing the planet even more.