The planet Venus, second from the Sun and the sixth largest planet, got its name for the ancient Roman goddess of love and beauty. But geographically speaking, Venus is a bowl of heat and volcanic activities and as a result of its thick and toxic atmosphere that traps heat, the greenhouse effect on the planet is intense, way beyond proportions of the effect on the Earth. And because of its proximity to the Earth and the way its clouds reflect, Venus appears to be the brightest planet in the sky, giving it the title of ‘Morning Star’ and ‘Evening Star’. And though, with a rocky body like that of Earth’s because of which it is often called as Earth’s twin, it has many stunning features different from that of Earth. Read the article here which will give you some amazing and interesting facts to know more about the planet in deep.
Distance From Sun: 108,209,475 km
Distance From Earth: 38.2 x 106 (Minimum) and 261.0 x 106 (Maximum)
Mean Radius: 6,051.8 km
Mean Circumference: 38,024.6 km
Volume: 928,415,345,893 km3
Mass: 4.867 x 1024 kg
Density: 5.243 g/cm3
Surface Area: 460,234,317 km2
Surface Gravity: 8.87 m/s2
Length Of Day: -243.018 Earth days (retrograde); -5832.4 hours (retrograde)
Length Of Year (Orbital Period): 0.61519726 Earth years; 224.70 Earth days
Average Orbit Velocity: 126,074 km/h
Orbit Inclination: 3.39 degrees
Orbit Circumference: 679,892,378 km
Average Temperature: 462 °C
Interesting And Fun Facts About Venus
- The planet was known as Frigg, the goddess wife of Odin, to the Teutonic people.
- Venus has been known since the ancient times, and like Mercury, it was popularly thought to be of two separate bodies: Eosphorous as the morning star and Hesperus as the evening star.
- Venus has the most circular orbit amongst all the planets, with an eccentricity of less than 1%.
- Venus rotates in retrograde direction, from east to west; when seen from Venus, the Sun would rise in the west and set in east.
- There is a thick atmosphere of carbon dioxide in Venus and the atmospheric pressure at the surface is 90 times that of Earth.
- Being closer to Sun and because of a thick atmospheric layer, the surface temperature of Venus gets as high as 475 ˚C.
- The orbital period or the Venusian year is about 225 Earth days long, while its sidereal rotation period is 243 Earth days, making a Venus solar day about 117 Earth days long when measured from noon to noon.
- Due to the slow rotation of Venus, it cannot generate magnetic field similar to Earth’s, even though the core iron content is similar to that of Earth.
- It is difficult to see through Venus’ thick atmosphere. The NASA’s Magellan mission to Venus, in the early 1990s, used a radar to image 98 % of the surface.
- Venus can sometimes be seen passing across the face of the Sun, although it is a rare phenomenon. This event is known as “transit of Venus” These transits of the planet occur in pairs with more than a century separating each pair. The last transit was visible on 1882. The second in this pair of early 21st century transits is to occur on 6th June 2012.
- The atmosphere of Venus mainly contains carbon dioxide with clouds made of sulphuric acid droplets. The traces of water have only been detected in the Venus’ atmosphere.
- The probes that landed on the planet survived only a few hours due to the scorching temperatures.
- The compounds of sulphur are found in abundance in the clouds of Venus.
- Weathering and erosion on the surface of Venus are caused by the dense, moving atmosphere and corrosive chemistry.
- The European Venus Express Orbiter, the first Venus exploration mission of the European Space Agency, confirmed the regular occurrences of atmospheric lightning bursts on Venus. Although, these lightning bursts on the planet are associated with clouds of sulphuric acid whereas on Earth, Jupiter and Saturn these bursts are associated with water clouds.
- Craters, smaller than 1.5 to 2 km, do not exist on the surface of Venus as only the large meteors are able to hit the surface; the small ones burn up in the dense atmosphere before they even reach the surface.
- The surface of Venus is believed to have been completely reformed some 300 to 500 million years ago due to volcanic activity. The surface is dotted by more than 1000 volcanoes or volcanic centres larger than 20 km in diameter.
- These volcanic flows have produced long wiggly channels, extending for hundreds of kilometres. Venus has two large highland areas: Ishtar Terra which is about the size of Australia, in the North Polar Region; and the Aphrodite Terra which is about the size of South America.
- The Maxwell Montes is the highest mountain on Venus and is about the same height as Mount Everest on Earth. It is at the eastern edge of Ishtar Terra.
- Mariner 2 was the first spacecraft to visit Venus in 1962. The planet has been subsequently visited by many others including Pioneer Venus and the Soviet Venera 7, which is the first spacecraft to land on another planet and Venera 9, which gave us the the first photographs of the surface of Venus.
- The periods of Venus’s rotation and of its orbits are synchronized in such a way that it always presents the same face towards Earth when the two planets are at their closest approach.
- It is believed that Venus once had large quantities of water which got boiled away. The condition of Earth would have been similar if it were little closer to the Sun.
- The images from Magellan spacecraft (operated by NASA) shows some unique and amazing features like the pancake volcanoes, which look like eruptions of strong lava, and coronae, which look like a destroyed dome over large magma chambers.
- The iron core of Venus which is 3000 km in radius and the molten rocky mantle which covers most of the planet makes the interior of the planet similar to Earth.
- The recent findings from the Magellan Gravity Data show that the crust of Venus is stronger than predicted. The convection in the mantle produces stress on the surface just like it does on the surface of the Earth. But the while this stress is relieved on Venus in many small regions, it is focused on the boundaries of large plates on Earth.
- Venus looks much different when looked through a telescope; one can observe that Venus goes through phases similar to that of Earth’s Moon. The planet makes a thin crescent when it is at its brightest and when it is dimmest and farther away, one can see a more circular form.