Planet Orbits

Planet Orbits

An orbit is the path an object takes in space as it revolves around another object. While a planet travels in one direction, it is also affected by the Sun’s gravity causing it to take a curved route that eventually brings it back to its starting point. This complete revolution equates to a single orbit.


Orbit Velocities

The closer a planet is to the Sun, the faster it needs to travel in order to maintain its orbit.

Mercury 47.4 km/s
Venus 35.0 km/s
Earth 29.8 km/s
Mars 24.1 km/s
Jupiter 13.1 km/s
Saturn 9.7 km/s
Uranus 6.8 km/s
Neptune 5.4 km/s

Planet Speed Graph

Orbit Distances

The inner planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars) are all relatively close together while the outer planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune) are much more spread out.

Planet Orbit Distance Diagram

Mercury
57,909,227 km

Venus
108,209,475 km

Earth
149,598,262 km

Mars
227,943,824 km

Jupiter
778,340,821 km

Saturn
1,426,666,422 km

Uranus
2,870,658,186 km

Neptune
4,498,396,441 km


Orbit Lengths

In the time it takes the Earth to complete one orbit, the planets closer to the Sun (Mercury and Venus) orbit at least once. The more distant planets (Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune) which move slower and have a greater distance to travel, complete just a fraction of their orbits in this time.

Planet Orbits Graph

Mercury
(4.2 Orbits)

Venus
(1.6 Orbits)

Earth
(1 Orbit)

Mars
(53.2% of Orbit)

Jupiter
(8.4 % of Orbit)

Saturn
(3.4% of Orbit)

Uranus
(1.2% of Orbit)

Neptune
(0.6 % of Orbit)


How Far

See how far each planet has travelled since you started reading this page!

Mercury Icon

Mercury n km

Venus Icon

Venus n km

Earth Icon

Earth n km

Mars Icon

Mars n km

Jupiter Icon

Jupiter n km

Saturn Icon

Saturn n km

Uranus Icon

Uranus n km

Neptune Icon

Neptune n km


The Sun (which orbits the centre of the Milky Way galaxy and travels at a speed of 220 km/s in relation to it) and Pluto (which travels slower than any of the planets at 4.7 km/s in relation to the Sun) have gone:

Sun Icon

The Sun n km

Pluto Icon

Pluto n km

Thanks to Mark from Shark Facts for help with the planet distance counters.

Sources
Orbit velocities: http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/factsheet/
Orbit distances and lengths: http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planetinfo/charchart.cfm

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Related space facts:

66 comments

  1. This website is fantastic. Really well-designed and informative! I’m sad to see that I seem to have discovered it after it’s stopped being updated. This site deserves way more love.

  2. I an’t beleive we get to see them move in real time!
    I love the planet Uranus, though, even though it’s a bit slow itself.

  3. i LOVE THIS WEBSITE IT CAN TELL ME EVERYTHING ABOUT HOW FAR THE PLANETS HAVE GONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IT EVEN TELLS HOW FAR THE SUN HAS ROTATED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. This website is really cool. However, the diagram of the planet’s orbits is incorrect. All of the planet’s orbits are, as Kepler’s First Law states, are elliptical not circular

  5. Very nice – REALLY nice! Some of the statements and questions you seem to be getting…I do worry about education these days. Really? You have to ask THAT type of question…? I have a 6 year old g-daughter, and she is a bright thing, and has started to ask about planets (they must be touching on them at school) so I have tried to get a visual demo together of the orbits. It’s rather tricky to tell a 6 year old ‘the planets are big, and they orbit round the sun, which is also moving…’.
    Huh? Say what…? I’m getting there in VB.Net, and it’s been fun…
    A really nice site. When I’ve got the video of my inner planets orbiting I’ll let you know. I have to allow for different speeds…it’s all in the maths…my favourite part!!!!

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