Venus is the second planet from the Sun and is the most similar planet in our Solar System to Earth. It was once thought that the planet was so similar to Earth that it might have life on it. As technology has improved, this has been found not to be true.
Venus has been a bit of a mystery for a long time because it is tough to view its surface. Below are interesting facts on the mysterious planet Venus.
Interesting Facts about Venus
- Venus is the second planet from the Sun. It is between Mercury and Earth and is a distance of 67 million miles (108 million kilometres) away from the Sun.
- Venus is 162 million miles (261 million kilometres) away from Earth. This makes it the closest planet to us.
- Venus got its name from the Roman Goddess of Beauty Venus. This is because it shone brighter than any other planet known to the ancient astronomers who named them. It is the only planet that is named after a female god.
- Venus was the first planet in the Solar System to have its orbit plotted in the sky by ancient civilizations.
- Venus has been a primary feature throughout mythology and fiction. Classic poets such as Homer, Sappho and Virgil have written about the planet. It has also been included in The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh.
- Venus is the brightest planet in the Solar System. That makes it the easiest planet to see from Earth. The only items in the Solar System that are brighter are the Sun and our Moon. It is so bright that it is often reported as a UFO – “unidentified flying object”.
- Venus takes 224.7 days to orbit the Sun and 243 days to rotate on its’ axis. That means that one day on Venus is longer than one year! Venus does not have any moons or rings. Mercury and Venus are the only planets in the Solar
- System without their moons. There are a few different theories about why this is, but no one knows the answer yet.
- Venus’s orbit is the closest planet to have a circular orbit, all other planets in our Solar System are elliptical.
- Like Mercury, in ancient times Venus was believed to be two separate objects in the sky. The Morning Star and the Evening Star. In ancient times they were known as Vesper and Lucifer.
- Every 568 days Venus overtakes Earth as it orbits the Sun.
- Venus rotates in the opposite direction to most other planets, moving clockwise. Only Venus and Uranus rotate this way. It is called retrograde rotation.
- Venus is sometimes called Earths sister planet as they are very similar in size. Venus is 7,520 miles in diameter (12,103 kilometres) , Earth is 7,900 miles (12,742 kilometres) in diameter.
- Even though it is not the closest planet to the Sun, Venus is the hottest planet, and its temperatures average at 462 degrees Celcius (862 degrees Fahrenheit). This is 62 degrees hotter than Mercury – the planet closest to the Sun. Probes that have reached the planet have only survived for a couple of hours before the heat has destroyed them.
- The temperature on Venus does not change much between day and night because slow solar winds are blowing across the surface helping to move and maintain the heat. These plus the thick blanket of clouds covering venus keep the temperature pretty much the same all of the time.
- You cannot view the surface of Venus through a telescope. This is because it is surrounded by thick clouds of sulphuric acid and water vapour
- Venus’ atmosphere is mostly made up of carbon dioxide. This plus the thick clouds cause the high temperatures because the sun heats the planets surface and the carbon dioxide and clouds create a “greenhouse effect” which does not allow the heat to escape.
- There are no seasons on Venus. It only has an axial tilt of 2.7 degrees which isn’t big enough to have any effect or create seasons.
- The surface on Venus is mostly made up of continents mountains and craters and is visually similar to Earth – another reason it is sometimes called Earths sister planet.
- The surface of Venus is too hot and atmosphere too hostile for anything to live on.
- Between 1961 and 1984 the Soviet Union launched several space probes to find out more information about Venus, which successfully landed on the planet’s surface. Two of these probes captured and transmitted the first ever images of the surface of Venus.
- Before the Soviet Union mission scientists had hoped that Venus had conditions that could sustain life. The information discovered proved them to be wrong.
- In 1993 NASA used the Magellan probe and radar systems to obtain a map of almost the whole of Venus’ surface. This showed that the surface of Venus appears to be quite young in comparison to other planets. Scientists estimated it to be less than 800 million years old. Much younger than Earths 4.54 billion years.
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