MadSci Network: Astronomy Query:

### Re: What is the distance between Venus and Mars?

Date: Fri Feb 20 03:13:14 2004
Posted By: Vladimir Escalante-Ramírez, Faculty, Institute of Astronomy, National University of Mexico
Area of science: Astronomy
ID: 1074469417.As
Message:
```
Both Venus and Mars circle the Sun. Since Venus is much
closer to the Sun than Mars, it travels in its orbit
around the Sun much faster than Mars. Venus takes
almost 225 days to complete one turn around the Sun while Mars
takes almost 687 days. These means that the distance from
Venus to Mars changes a lot as they move around the Sun.
The distance from the Sun to a planet does not change so much.
The distance from the Sun to Venus is 67,205,000 miles, and
the distance from the Sun to Mars is 141,578,000 miles.
Suppose that at some time Venus and Mars are on opposite
points from the Sun. That would be the farthest distance
from each other, which is the sum of their distances
from the Sun: 208,783,000 miles. As they move in their
orbits, they approach each other until Venus is
exactly between Mars and the Sun. That would be the moment
of shortest distance between each other, and their distance will be
the difference between 141,578,000 miles and 67,205,000 miles.

You can find a view of the current positions of the
planets in http://www.fourmilab.to/solar/

To calculate the time that light travels a distance, we
need to know the light speed, which is 670,337,890 miles
per hour. That means that the light travels 670,337,890
miles in one hour. To know how many hours does the light
takes to travel a distance, we have to divide that distance
by 670,337,890. Think about it: we want to know how many
times 670,337,890 fits in that distance. That will be
the number of hours that the light takes to cover that
distance. When Venus and Mars are on opposite sides from
the Sun, the light beam takes 208,783,000/670,337,890=0.311
hours. That's less than one hour, or about 18 minutes and 40 seconds.
I'll let you do the calculation for the case when Venus
and Mars are on the same side of the Sun (it has to be a
shorter time, doesn't it?).

```

Current Queue | Current Queue for Astronomy | Astronomy archives