How far away is Uranus now?

Last Updated: Today

As of April 13 2024, Uranus is 1,903,952,810 miles (3,063,460,072 kilometers) away from Earth, which is about 20.4779657514433 AU.
uranus medium

Where does this live distance data come from?

I source Uranus’s distance from Earth via the Horizon JPL API. It is a free service provided by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) that offers access to ephemeris (positional) data and related information for celestial bodies, such as planets, asteroids, and comets. The system can be accessed through various interfaces, including a web interface, a telnet interface, and an email interface.

This API contains the precise distance between Uranus and Earth from each day of the next few hundred years. 

So I simply created a system to check for today’s date, then go retrieve the accurate distance value directly from NASA’s database. The up-to-date value is then displayed on this page. 

How do scientists calculate the real-time distance between Uranus and earth?

Scientists calculate the live distance between Uranus and Earth using a combination of mathematics, astronomical data, and the principles of celestial mechanics. 

The positions of Earth and Uranus in their respective orbits are constantly changing due to their elliptical orbits and different orbital periods around the Sun.

Uranus's orbital parameters

Orbital parameters describe the way objects move around in space, such as planets, moons, and satellites. These parameters include the size, shape, and tilt of the orbit, as well as the object’s position and speed within the orbit.

They help scientists understand and predict the paths of celestial bodies, which is crucial for planning space missions, observing astronomical phenomena, and monitoring satellites. 

PropertyUranusEarthRatio (Uranus/Earth)Definition
Semimajor axis (106 km)2,867.043149.59819.165The average distance from the Sun to the planet.
Sidereal orbit period (days)30,685.4365.25684.011The time taken for the planet to complete one orbit around the Sun relative to the stars.
Tropical orbit period (days)30,588.740365.24283.749The time taken for the planet to complete one orbit around the Sun relative to the vernal equinox.
Perihelion (106 km)2,732.696147.09518.578The point in the planet’s orbit that is closest to the Sun.
Aphelion (106 km)3,001.390152.10019.733The point in the planet’s orbit that is farthest from the Sun.
Synodic period (days)369.66The time taken for the planet to return to the same relative position with respect to Earth and the Sun.
Mean orbital velocity (km/s)6.7929.780.228The average velocity of the planet in its orbit around the Sun.
Max. orbital velocity (km/s)7.1330.290.235The maximum velocity of the planet in its orbit around the Sun.
Min. orbital velocity (km/s)6.4929.290.222The minimum velocity of the planet in its orbit around the Sun.
Orbit inclination (deg)0.7700.000The angle between the plane of the planet’s orbit and the plane of the ecliptic.
Orbit eccentricity0.04690.01672.808A measure of how elliptical the planet’s orbit is.
Sidereal rotation period (hrs)-17.24*23.93450.720The time taken for the planet to complete one rotation on its axis relative to the stars. The negative sign indicates a retrograde rotation.
Length of day (hrs)17.2424.00000.718The duration of daylight on the planet.
Obliquity to orbit (deg)97.7723.44The angle between the planet’s axis of rotation and its orbital axis.
Inclination of equator (deg)82.2323.443.508The angle between the planet’s equatorial plane and its orbital plane.

Uranus at opposition (list for the next 7 years)

When astronomer talks about Uranus being at opposition,  it means that Uranus, Earth, and the Sun are aligned in a straight line, with Earth in the middle. During this time, which lasts for a few weeks, Uranus appears brighter and larger in the sky because it’s at its closest point to Earth in its orbit.

Uranus reaches planetary opposition approximately once a year, providing astronomers and stargazers with an amazing opportunity to observe and admire the ice-giant planet.

Below you can find a list of opposition dates for the next 5 years:

ObjectRight AscensionDeclinationConstellationMagnitudeAngular SizeDate & Time
Uranus03h13m30s17°37’NAries5.63.8″MON, 13 NOV 2023 AT 09:12 PST (17:12 UTC)
Uranus03h30m20s18°43’NTaurus5.63.8″SAT, 16 NOV 2024 AT 18:36 PST (02:36 UTC)
Uranus03h47m30s19°44’NTaurus5.63.8″FRI, 21 NOV 2025 AT 04:17 PST (12:17 UTC)
Uranus04h23m00s21°28’NTaurus5.63.8″TUE, 30 NOV 2027 AT 01:13 PST (09:13 UTC)
Uranus04h41m10s22°10’NTaurus5.63.8″SUN, 03 DEC 2028 AT 12:20 PST (20:20 UTC)

Just for fun, how long would it take to reach Uranus via different transportation means

The average distance between Earth and Uranus is 1.6 billion miles (2.6 billion km), so based on that distance, I have calculated the time it would take to reach the ice giant at the speed of different means of transportation.

  • On foot (3 mph): Approximately 60,907 years
  • Bicycle (15 mph): Approximately 12,181 years
  • Horse (galloping at 25 mph): Approximately 7,309 years
  • Motorbike (average speed of 70 mph): Approximately 2,610 years
  • Boat (cruising speed of 23 mph): Approximately 7,943 years
  • Car (60 mph): Approximately 3,043 years
  • High-speed train (200 mph): Approximately 913 years
  • Commercial Airplane (575 mph): Approximately 318 years
  • Concorde supersonic jet (1,350 mph): Approximately 135 years
  • SpaceX Starship (projected average speed of 16,777 mph): Approximately 10.9 years

Please note this is only for fun and it does not reflect the reality of space travel. This is a simplification and does not account for acceleration, deceleration, or the gravitational influences of celestial bodies which would play significant roles in actual space travel. 

Also, these calculations assume constant speed, which is not how actual space travel works. A real trip to Uranus would be faster due to the spacecraft picking up speed from gravitational assists.

Bonus Fact: On average it takes about 2.5-3 hours for light from Uranus to reach Earth.

Tom Urbain

 I’ve been fascinated by space and astronomy from a very young age. When I’m not watching space-themed documentaries, movies or TV series, I spend most of my free time in my backyard admiring the planets and galaxies with my telescope.