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Facts About Venus

Buzzle Staff
The closest neighbor to Earth and known as the morning or evening star, Venus, is the second planet of our solar system. Here are some interesting facts about Venus, including its physical characteristics, atmosphere, and the human missions.
As the second planet to the Sun in the solar system, it is the closest neighbor to Earth. Known commonly as the morning or evening star, Venus appears in the sky just before sunrise or just after sunset. It is brighter than any star and can be seen in broad daylight. It is called an inferior planet as it is closer to the sun than the Earth. The planet is named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty.
Many space missions sent by both USA and USSR have given more details about the planet. Some of the space missions are still in the orbit. Many interesting features and facts have been revealed by the studies made from different missions. This was an attempt to see the overall view of the researches made so far. Let us have a look at some of the interesting facts about Venus here.

Facts about the Planet Venus

Venus can be termed as a mystery planet as no telescope has been able to penetrate a view through the planets thick atmosphere. Venus is covered with thick clouds containing sulfur dioxide and sulfuric acid. The planet can be observed only through by radar mapping, or by landing on the surface by probes.
Just like Earth, Venus has silicon rock on its surface. Because of that, it is called a Terrestrial planet and considered to be a sister planet of the Earth.
Physical Characteristics
Though it is similar to the Earth in size and composition, it has dense atmosphere consisting of carbon dioxide. For this very reason, the possibility of organic life in the planet is very remote.
Its atmosphere has clouds of sulfuric acid, which reflects the sunrays. This makes the atmosphere difficult to observe from space in visible light. It is so hot that the ocean-like water bodies have been completely evaporated.
The rich carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the sulfur dioxide clouds are responsible for the high temperature on the surface. The hot surface of Venus is hotter than Mercury's even though it is twice as far as mercury is from the sun. The atmospheric pressure of the Venus is more than 90 times of Earth.
The Venus has a diameter of 95% of the Earth, just 650 km less than the Earth. Compared to Earth it is lighter, having 81.55% of the Earth's mass. Its surface area is about 90% of Earth's. The Venus has an axial tilt of 2.64 degrees.
Venus and Earth
The orbital period of Venus is 224.7 days. The winds at the top of the clouds are very strong but the same at the surface of Venus is very low, at approximately a few kilometers per hour. Volcanic plains occupy a major portion of the surface area of Venus. It has been estimated that it has about 167 giant volcanoes of 100km across.
Carbon dioxide and water vapor are called greenhouse gases.
Greenhouse Effect
They have the property of absorbing infrared radiation emitted by sunlight falling on the surface of Venus. The absorption results in the high temperature of the surface.
This effect is called the greenhouse effect. All planets have this effect and this effect is responsible for the planet to be warmer.

The effect is called 'runaway greenhouse effect', if the temperature reaches the boiling point of water. This temperature could bring the ocean to a boil, which will produce further water vapor.
The newly produced water vapor increases the greenhouse effect, which in turn increase the temperature.
Meteor crater is one example of impact crater our planet has.
Impact Crater
The surface of Venus has many such impact craters, which offers a lot of information about the planet. There are many broad depressions seen on Venus.
These depressions are named: Atalanta Planitia, Guinevere Planitia, and Lavinia Planitia. A large highland is observed in the northern hemisphere of the planet called Ishtar Terra. Another, highland called Aphrodite Terra is seen along the equator.
Venus has a very thick atmosphere that causes it to spin slower than it takes to complete its orbit around the sun. It is the only planet to rotate clockwise.
It is thought the planet may have collided with another space object, causing it to change its rotational path. This rotation of Venus is also called 'retrograde rotation'. One of the weird facts about this planet is that it has no natural satellite. The asteroid 2002 VE68 maintains a quasi-orbital relationship with Venus.
Russian Federal Space Agency's successful space shuttle called the Venus Express was positioned in the Venus orbit on 11th April 2006.
Current Missions
It had undertaken a detailed study of Venus. The probe lasted for 500 earth days or two Venusian years.
Its results have been published as to the existence of atmospheric vortex at the south pole of the planet. NASA's MESSENGER mission used two flybys from Mercury to Venus. It reached Venus in October 2006 and the other reached in June 2007.
The Japanese launched a Venus orbiter, Akatsuki on May 20, 2010. However, it failed to enter the orbit in December 2010. In 2014, the European Space Agency (ESA) launched a mission to Mercury. This mission will perform two flybys to Venus, before the mission reaches Mercury's orbit in 2020.
The planet Venus has many historic connections with the people of various countries. Its brightness has fascinated many. Not only the scientific world, but also the common people are curiously awaiting the facts about this planet that future missions may put forth to us.