Venus is the second planet from the sun in our solar system. It is the hottest planet in our Solar System. This planet is covered with fast-moving sulphuric acid clouds which trap heat from the Sun. Its thick atmosphere is mostly carbon dioxide. Venus has an iron core but only a very weak magnetic field.
This is a planet on which a person would asphyxiate in the poisonous atmosphere, be cooked in the extremely high heat, and be crushed by the enormous atmospheric pressure.
Venus is also known as the “morning star” or the “evening star” since it is visible and quite bright at either dawn or dusk. It is only visible at dawn or dusk since it is closer to the sun than we are.
Like the moon, Venus’ appearance from Earth changes as it orbits around the Sun. It goes from full to gibbous to crescent to new and back.
Venus is about 7,521 miles (12,104 km) in diameter. This is about 95% of the diameter of the Earth. Venus is the closest to Earth in size and mass of any of the other planets.
Mass and gravity
Venus’ mass is about 4.87 x 1024 kg. The gravity on Venus is 91% of the gravity on Earth. A 100-pound person would weigh 91 pounds on Venus.
The density of Venus is 5,240 kg/m3, slightly less dense than the Earth and the third densest planet in our Solar System (after the Earth and Mercury).
Length of a day and year on Venus
Venus rotates VERY slowly. Each day on Venus takes 243 Earth days. A year on Venus takes 224.7 Earth days. It takes 224.7 Earth days for Venus to orbit the sun once. The same side of Venus always faces Earth when the Earth and Venus are closest together.
Venus’ orbit and distance from the Sun
Venus is 67,230,000 miles (108,200,000 km) from the sun. Venus has an almost circular orbit. On average, Venus is 0.72 AU, 67,230,000 miles = 108,200,000 km from the sun.
Venus rotates in the opposite direction of the Earth (and the other planets, except possibly Uranus). Looking from the north, Venus rotates clockwise, while the other planets rotate counterclockwise. From Venus, the Sun would seem to rise in the west and set in the east (the opposite of Earth). No one knows why Venus has this unusual rotation.
Temperature on Venus
Venus is the hottest planet in our Solar System. Its cloud cover traps the heat of the sun (the greenhouse effect), giving Venus temperatures up to 480°C. The mean temperature on Venus is 726 K (452°C = 870°F).
Venus has no moons.
First spacecraft to reach Venus
Venera 3 (from the U.S.S.R.) was the first manmade object to reach Venus. This Soviet spacecraft was launched on November 16, 1965. On March 1, 1966 , the spacecraft arrived at Venus and the capsule parachuted down to the planet, but contact was lost just before entry into the atmosphere.
Venus’ name and symbol
Venus was named after the Roman goddess of love.