How Long it Takes for Each Planet to Orbit the Sun

How Long it Takes for Each Planet to Orbit the Sun

If one was asked the questions, “How long is a day?” and “How long is a year?” they would probably be very offended by such a simple question. A day is 24 hours, while a year is 365 days long, 366 during a leap year. In the basic sense, this answer would be correct, but the answer really only applies to Earth. On different planets, there are very different times of what constitutes a “day,” which is the time it takes for a planet to complete one turn of its axis and a “year,” which equivocates to the time it takes a planet to completely orbit around the sun. Planets that are closer to the sun do not take as long to complete their orbit and subsequently have shorter years than our planet. Alternatively, planets that are far away, such as Neptune or Saturn, take a very long time to completely orbit around the sun. Interestingly enough however, it seems to be the farther a planet is away from the sun, the faster they can complete a turn of their access. This means that although far reaching planets have longer years, their days are actually shorter than Earth’s.

In terms of the four closest planets to the sun, excluding Earth, it can be seen how distance from the planet effects the time it takes for each planet to orbit the sun. Mercury, the first planet in our solar system can completely orbit around the sun in a mere 88 Earth Days, but nearly takes 60 days to complete a turn of its axis. Venus, which is the closet planet to Earth, takes 224 days to orbit around the sun. Oddly enough Venus takes longer to complete a rotation of its axis, 243 days, than it does to completely orbit the sun. Mars, one of the closest planets to Earth in size takes around 686.97 days to orbit around the earth and has a nearly identical day of 24.3 hours.

The last four planets of the sun, demonstrate the immense effect of distance on the time it takes for a planet to rotate around the sun. Jupiter, the solar system’s largest planet, takes 4,331.572 days to orbit around the sun, but the fast turning planet only takes 9.8 hours to completely rotate on its axis. Saturn takes more than double the time of Jupiter to orbit the sun with a time of 10,832.33 days, but has nearly an identical time to rotate on its axis with 10.2 hours. Uranus and Neptune are the two farthest planets from the sun and the time it takes for them to orbit around the sun reflects this. Uranus takes 30,7999.09 days to orbit around the sun, which is impressive but cannot compare to the 60,190 days it takes Neptune to complete the same task. However, Uranus and Neptune have comparable rotation times of 17.14 and 16 hours respectively.

Next time you’re asked about how long a year or a day is, make sure to not fall into the boring perspective of only thinking about your planet. Giving the answer that a year on Neptune is more than 60,000 days or a day on Jupiter is less than 10 hours is a lot more interesting.