Electronic – Why is three-phase offset by 120 degrees

mainsthree phase

For three phase electricity the wave is offset by 120 degrees(2\$\pi/3\$ Rad). Why aren't the phases closer together? Is it because it will affect the frequency of the phases? How was this 120 degrees chosen?

Also, if each phase is 230V with respect to the neutral (star operation), then there will be 230V \$\times\$ \$\sqrt{3}\$ = 400V between any two phases (triangle or delta operation), and they're also equally spaced, i.e. at 120° angles.