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It's "commonly known" how distant are our solar system planets from Sun. But we can't easily say that about planets, which distances can differ greatly, without some observations (or simulations, knowing their state in some moment in time).

How can I can check 'actual' relative distances or positions of planets?

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Ask Wolfram Alpha. Here is an example.

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    $\begingroup$ I love Wolfram. It does everything. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 2, 2014 at 1:59
  • $\begingroup$ I second that ! $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 11, 2014 at 8:27
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JPL's HORIZONS system should be a fairly good starting point to calculate ephemerides.

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