Venus Facts

Venus Planet Profile

View on Maps: google.com/maps/space/venus
Distance from Sun:67.24 million mi
Radius: 3,760 mi
Diameter: 7,520.8 mi
Orbital period: 225 days
Mass: 4.867 × 10^24 kg 0.815 M⊕
Surface Temperature: 462 °C
Number of Moons: None
First Recorded: 17th century BCE by Babylon astronomers

Venus is the second planet in our solar system and was named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty.

It’s the only planet that is named after a female and is believed to be named so because it is the one planet of the five known by ancient astronomers to have shown the brightest.

Beautiful Planet

Ancient astronomers often thought that Venus was really two different stars: one that appeared as the morning star and one that was the evening star.

All throughout history, Venus was praised for being so beautiful, however, it wasn’t until the age of space exploration that we found out that Venus has a more hellish environment. Getting close to the planet is difficult due to the intense heat.

Hot Planet

Earth and Venus have often been referred to as “twins” because they share similar density, gravity, composition, size, and mass. But those features are where the similarities end.

The heat on the planet Venus, combined with the inner pressures have given over 1,600 volcanoes. While scientists think that most are dormant, there are some that may still be active. This makes it the single planet with the most volcanoes in the solar system.

Hostile Planet

Due to its slow rotation on its axis, one day on Venus takes 243 Earth-days to complete one rotation. It is thought that billions of years ago, Venus might have had a similar climate as the one on Earth.

Scientists think that there may have been large amounts of water, even big enough to create oceans on Venus. However, the high temperatures on Venus that produce the extreme greenhouse effect, allowed the water to boil off. This left a planet that is too hostile and hot to sustain life as we know it.

The atmosphere on Venus is in two broad layers: one that is a cloud bank and covers the entire planet and the other is everything that is below the cloud bank.

These clouds are incredibly dense and made of Sulphur dioxide and sulfuric acid. They reflect almost 60% of the sunlight that Venus gets back into space. This makes Venus the hottest planet in the solar system.

Very Strange

One of the very strange things about Venus is that its rotation is in the opposite direction of most of the other planets in our solar system. Only Venus and Uranus rotate clockwise. This type of rotation is called a “retrograde rotation” and may have been caused due to historic collisions with near Earth objects such as asteroids. A major “hit” could have changed the rotation of each of these planets.

Venus was first radar mapped in 1978 when the spacecraft Pioneer Venus orbited the planet. The information received showed that the surface was made up mostly of plains formed by very ancient lava flows, and only two highland regions that were named Aphrodite Terra and Ishtar Terra. The Magellan spacecraft of 1990 orbited Venus, performing more detailed radar mapping.

Facts about Venus

  • Night and day temperature on Venus doesn’t change much.
  • It is thought that the surface of Venus is around 300-400 million years old.
  • Venus’ atmospheric pressure is 92 times stronger than Earth’s.
  • Venus has an extremely weak magnetic field, possibly due to a lack of an inner core or one that is cooling.
  • Both NASA and the Soviet Union have had several planetary missions to Venus that have added to our knowledge about the planet.
  • Scientists assume that like other terrestrial planets, the interior of Venus is made up of similar three layers: a crust, a mantle, and a core. However, there are still remaining questions about the status of the core.

Venus Quiz

  • Astronomy for Kids