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A US astronomer team calculated the average distances between the Earth and other planets in the Solar System and concluded that Mercury, not Venus, is closest to our planet. The study has been published by the journal Physics Today.
In addition, Mercury is, on average, the closest "neighbor" to all other planets in the solar system, according to the researchers.
The misunderstanding of how far the planets are from each other comes from the fact that one normally estimates the distances to other planets, i. calculate the average distance from the planet to the sun.
The average distance of our earth from the sun should therefore be an astronomical unit (AE), while it is about 0.72 AU of Venus.
If you subtract one value from the other, the average distance between Earth and Venus will be 0.28 AU. amount, which is less, than with all other planet pairs.
However, three researchers found that this is not the exact way to calculate distances between planets.
The problem is that the Earth spends the same amount of time on the opposite side of its orbit from Venus, and then the distance is 1.72 AU.
For a more accurate calculation, it is necessary to determine the distance between each point in the orbit of the planet A and each point in the orbit of the planet B.
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The researchers carried out a simulation, assuming that the orbits of planets are approximately circular and their orbits are not at an angle to each other.
This method has enabled them to conclude that most of the time Mercury is closest to Earth as well as to every other planet in the solar system.