Venus is also the closest planet to Earth.
Named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty, Venus is the second largest terrestrial planet and is sometimes referred to as the Earth’s sister planet due the their similar size and mass.
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.
Ancient astronomers called Venus both Phosphorous and Hesperus, mistakenly believing that the object visible in the morning and evening were two separate celestial bodies.
Venus travels around the sun in a nearly circular orbit, with its average distance from the sun varying only slightly throughout the orbit. It takes the planet approximately 225 Earth days to travel completely around the sun, compared to Earth’s 365 days.
Venus is surrounded by clouds consisting of mercury, ferric chloride hydrocarbons and sulphuric acid. These clouds create the most corrosive acid rain found anywhere in our solar system.
The surface of Venus is often described as a “stormy desert” full of many craters and very active volcanoes.
Venus is the hottest planet in the solar system with an average surface temperature of 462°C (863°F).
One day on Venus is longer than one year. Due to the slow rotation on its axis, it takes 243 Earth-days to complete one rotation. The orbit of the planet takes 225 Earth-days – making a year on Venus shorter on day on Venus.
Venus rotate in the opposite direction to other planets. 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.
The interior of Venus is probably similar to Earth’s interior. Venus, like Earth, is one of the terrestrial
planets and is made of rock and metal. It probably has a partly molten metallic core, a rocky mantle, and a crust.
Venus has a very weak magnetic field. This surprised scientists, who expected Venus to have a magnetic field similar in strength to Earth’s. One possible reason for this is that Venus has no solid inner core, or that its core is not cooling.
The atmospheric pressure of Venus is 92 times stronger than Earth’s. This means that any small asteroids entering the atmosphere of Venus are crushed by the immense pressure, which is why there are no small surface craters on the planet. This pressure is equivalent to being around 1,000 km (620 miles) under Earth’s oceans.
The estimated age of the Venusian surface is around 300-400 million years old. By comparison, the surface of the Earth is about 100 million years old.
Billions of years ago, the climate of Venus may been similar to that of Earth and scientists believe that Venus once possessed large amounts of water or oceans. However, due to the high temperatures produce from the extreme greenhouse effect, this water boiled off long ago and the surface of the planet is now too hot and hostile to sustain life.
Venus is the only planet in the Solar System to be named after a female figure.