The Closest Planetary Neighbor to Earth Is...

Surprise! Not Venus. Physics Today has done some calculations with regard to which planet is our closest neighbor, on average (take note!). This should give you a rough idea which it might be, but if you really want to know, read it here.

(Image credit: NASA)

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Multiple elliptical orbits, can mess up your assumptions. Depends on where in the orbit you are at any given time. There are times when Mercury is closer to Earth than Venus. On the other end of the solar system, owing to the eccentricity of its orbit, there are occasions when Pluto is closer to the Sun than is Neptune.
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