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Solar System Tour (Planet Venus)

Venus is one of the four terrestrial planets in the Solar System, meaning that, like Earth, it is a rocky body. In size and mass, it is similar to Earth, and is often described as Earth’s “sister” or “twin”. The diameter of Venus is 12,092 km (only 650 km less than Earth’s) and its mass is 81.5% of Earth’s. Conditions on the Venusian surface differ radically from those on Earth, owing to its dense carbon dioxide atmosphere. The mass of the atmosphere of Venus is 96.5% carbon dioxide, with most of the remaining 3.5% being nitrogen.

Facts about Planet Venus

1. Venus is the brightest planet in the Solar System and can be seen even in daylight if you know where to look.  When Venus is west of the Sun, she rises before the Sun in the morning and is known as the Morning Star.  When she is east of the Sun, she shines in the evening just after sunset and is known as the Evening Star.

2. Venus, the second planet from the sun, is named for the Roman goddess of love and beauty. The planet — the only planet named after a female — may have been named for the most beautiful deity because it shone the brightest of the five planets known to ancient astronomers.

3. Venus orbits round the sun in 225 days.  The Earth takes 365 days to complete an orbit of the sun.  So a year on Venus only lasts for 262 days!


4. Venus has phases like the moon because the orbit of Venus is between the Earth and the Sun.  When Venus shows only a crescent, like the crescent moon, she is at her brightest because she is then very close to the Earth.  You can only see the crescent with the help of a telescope, but this photograph shows the crescent moon and a bright Venus in the evening sky.

Related Post: Solar System Tour: The Sun

5. Venus is the planet which is closest to the Earth and is a little smaller than  the Earth.  The diameter of the Earth (the distance right round the middle of the Earth at the equator) is 12,760 kilometres, or 7926 miles.  The diameter of Venus is 12,103 kilometres, or 7520 miles.

6. Venus is the hottest planet in our solar system the average surface temperature is 462 °C, and because Venus does not tilt on its axis, there is no seasonal variation. The dense atmosphere of around 96.5 percent carbon dioxide traps heat and causes a greenhouse effect.

7. At one point it was thought Venus might be a tropical paradise, the dense clouds of sulphuric acid surrounding Venus make it impossible to view its surface from outside its atmosphere. It was only when radio mapping was developed in the 1960s that scientists were able to observe and measure the extreme temperatures and hostile environment. It is thought Venus did once have oceans but these evaporated as the planet’s temperature increased.

Related Post: Solar System Tour (Planet Earth)

8. Venus probably once had large amounts of water like Earth but it all boiled away. Venus is now quite dry. Earth would have suffered the same fate had it been just a little closer to the Sun. We may learn a lot about Earth by learning why the basically similar Venus turned out so differently.

9. If viewed from above, Venus rotates on its axis the opposite way that most planets rotate. That means on Venus, the sun would appear to rise in the west and set in the east. On Earth, the sun appears to rise in the east and set in the west.

10. 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.

Reference:   Wikipedia

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