Venus is the second planet from the Sun, orbiting it every 224.7 Earth days. It has no natural satellite. It is named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty. After the Moon, it is the brightest natural object in the night sky, reaching an apparent magnitude of −4.6, bright enough to cast shadows. Because Venus is an inferior planet from Earth, it never appears to venture far from the Sun: its elongation reaches a maximum of 47.8°. Venus reaches its maximum brightness shortly before sunrise or shortly after sunset, for which reason it has been referred to by ancient cultures as the Morning Star or Evening Star.
Venus is a terrestrial planet and is sometimes called Earth's "sister planet" because of their similar size, gravity, and bulk composition (Venus is both the closest planet to Earth and the planet closest in size to Earth). However, it has also been shown to be very different from Earth in other respects. It has the densest atmosphere of the four terrestrial planets, consisting of more than 96% carbon dioxide. The atmospheric pressure at the planet's surface is 92 times that of Earth's. With a mean surface temperature of 735 K (462 °C; 863 °F), Venus is by far the hottest planet in the Solar System. It has no carbon cycle to lock carbon back into rocks and surface features, nor does it seem to have any organic life to absorb it in biomass.
Venus is shrouded by an opaque layer of highly reflective clouds of sulfuric acid, preventing its surface from being seen from space in visible light. Venus may have possessed oceans in the past, but these would have vaporized as the temperature rose due to a runaway greenhouse effect. The water has most probably photodissociated, and, because of the lack of a planetary magnetic field, the free hydrogen has been swept into interplanetary space by the solar wind. Venus's surface is a dry desertscape interspersed with slab-like rocks and periodically refreshed by volcanism.Back at Top
Facts about Venus
A day on Venus lasts longer than a year:
It takes 243 Earth days to rotate once on its axis. The planet’s orbit around the Sun takes 225 Earth days, compared to the Earth’s 365.
Venus is often called the Earth’s sister planet:
Earth and Venus are very similar in size with only a 638 km difference in diameter, Venus having 81.5% of the Earth’s mass. Both also have a central core, a molten mantle and a crust.Back at Top
Venus rotates counter-clockwise:
Also known as retrograde rotation. A possible reason might be a collision in the past with an asteroid or other object that caused the planet to alter its rotational path. It also differs from most other planets in our solar system by having no natural satellites.
Venus is the second brightest object in the night sky:
Only the Moon is brighter. With a magnitude of between -3.8 to -4.6 Venus is so bright it can be seen during daytime on a clear day.Back at Top
Atmospheric pressure on Venus is 92 times greater than the Earth’s:
While its size and mass are similar to Earth, the small asteroids are crushed when entering its atmosphere, meaning no small craters lie on the surface of the planet. The pressure felt by a human on the surface would be equivalent to that experienced deep beneath the sea on Earth.
Venus is also known as the Morning Star and the Evening Star:
Early civilisations thought Venus was two different bodies, called Phosphorus and Hesperus by the Greeks, and Lucifer and Vesper by the Romans. This is because when its orbit around the Sun overtakes Earth’s orbit, it changes from being visible after sunset to being visible before sunrise. Mayan astronomers made detailed observations of Venus as early as 650 AD.Back at Top