What does this planet look like?
Venus is sometimes called Earth’s sister planet, though its similarities with Earth are limited apart from size and relative condition of its surface. It is easily observed with the naked eye and is sometimes called the “evening star” or “morning star.” Venus is covered by thick, noxious clouds of sulfuric acid that obscure a view of its surface. The thick layers of cloud create an extreme insulating effect (like the greenhouse effect) that radiates heat back to the surface and raises the temperature to over 800 degrees F.
Its surface is rocky, dusty, and dotted with mountains and canyons and a few volcanic hot spots. There are many lava flows. Some of the mountain ranges, including the Maxwell Mantes are enormous. Mountains within the 540 mile long range can reach heights of seven miles (much higher than the highest mountain on Earth). In contrast to the high mountains, about 65% of Venus is comprised of smooth plains. The pressure on the surface of Venus is intense. If you were to stand upon Venus, you feel the same amount of pressure you would if you were 3,200 feet underwater!
How big is this planet?
Venus is very similar in size to Earth and occupies about 95% of Earth’s diameter. Venus is at least 80% as massive as Earth.
How long does it take to orbit the sun?
What is its gravity like?
Gravitational force on Venus is similar to Earth. A 100 pound Earthling would weigh about 91 pounds on Venus.
How far is it from the sun? From the Earth?
Venus is the second closest planet to the sun at 67,000,000 miles away. When Venus and Earth are on the same side of the sun, the two planets may come within 25,500,000 miles of each other. When they are on opposite sides of the sun, they may be as far as 162,000,000 miles apart.
What is its atmosphere like?
The atmosphere of Venus is made mostly of carbon dioxide with small amounts of water vapor and nitrogen and even smaller amounts of argon, carbon monoxide, neon, and sulfur dioxide.
What’s the temperature like?
Venus is the hottest planet in the solar system. As previously noted, temperatures on the surface exceed 800 degrees F. The temperature in the uppermost layer of Venus’s clouds, however, average a temperate 55 degree F.
How many moons does it have?
*Venus was the first planet to be observed by a passing spacecraft. The unmanned U.S. spacecraft Mariner 2 passed within 21,600 miles of Venus on Dec. 14, 1962, after traveling through space for more than 31/2 months.
*Unlike most planets, Venus rotates in a clockwise manner.
*A day on Venus would take 243 Earth days!