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  • Writer's pictureChrist ICSE School Kengeri

What is the time taken by the sunlight to reach earth and all other planets?

Updated: Nov 13, 2023

We all know that sunlight travels at the speed of 1,86,000 miles/ second, and it takes approximately 8 minutes 30 seconds to reach the earth. However, have you ever wondered how much time it takes to travel to the other distant planets in our solar system? Let’s find out!

As said, sunlight takes different lengths of time to reach the various planets in our Solar System, with the innermost planets being the closest to the sun and the outermost planets being the farthest away.

Depending on a planet's distance from the Sun, light takes anywhere from less than four minutes to reach Mercury, to over four hours to reach Neptune.

Time taken by sunlight to reach all planets

Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun, so it takes the least amount of time for sunlight to reach it, only about 3 minutes and 20 seconds. This means that sunlight is at its brightest on Mercury than on any other planet.

Venus is the second planet from the Sun, and it takes about 6 minutes for sunlight to reach it.

Third planet from the Sun is Earth, and sunlight takes about 8.3 minutes to reach us from our local star.

Mars is the fourth planet in the Solar System and it takes about 12.6 minutes for light to reach the Red Planet.

Jupiter, the fifth planet from the Sun, is by far the fastest giant planet to receive sunlight at 43.2 minutes.

Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and it takes 79.3 minutes for sunlight to reach it.

Uranus, the seventh planet, takes just under 2 hours 39 minutes for sunlight to reach its atmosphere.

Finally, the outermost planet, Neptune, takes 4.1 hours for the sunlight to reach its atmosphere.

Bonus: It takes about 5.5 hours for sunlight to reach Pluto. However, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) downgraded the status of Pluto to that of a dwarf planet because it did not meet the three criteria the IAU uses to define a full-sized planet.

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