Facts About Planet Venus - The Backward Rotating Planet

Venus - facts about venus

Venus is the second rock from the Sun and the third brightest object in the sky, after Sun and Moon. It is named after the Roman Goddess of love and beauty. Venus is sometimes called Earth's sister planet because both of the worlds are similar in size, mass, gravity and even in Internal structure. But the condition on Venus is so horrible. It has the densest atmosphere compared to other terrestrial planets. The atmospheric pressure is 90 times stronger than Earth, enough to crush a human standing on it. Its atmosphere is made of greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide. Which creates an extreme greenhouse effect, making Venus the hottest planet in the solar system.

Facts About Venus

Planet Profile

Name Venus
Satellite None
Maximum Distance from Sun (aphelion) 108.9 million km
Minimum Distance from Sun (perihelion) 107 million km
Radius 6,051.8 km
Volume 9.38 × 1011 km3
Mass 4.867 × 1024 kg
Surface area 460.2 million km2
Gravity 8.87 m/s2
Surface Temperature 462°C or 864°F
Length of day 116 day 18hrs (Earth time)
Length of year 225 Earth days
Astronomical symbol ♀︎

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Quick Facts About Venus

  1. Venus is the only planet whose name is placed on a goddess.
  2. Because it rotates so slowly, Venus is the most spherical planet than any other planet.
  3. Venus has no moons or rings. Even Pluto has five moons.
  4. The surface of Venus is so hot that the lead will melt.
  5. Venus atmosphere reflects about 70% of sunlight.
  6. Such a reflection of Venus’s atmosphere makes it the second (after Moon) most luminous object in the night sky.
  7. Venus is so bright that it can cast shadow.
  8. The wind speed reaches up to 360 km/h or 220 mph at the top of the clouds.
  9. Wind speed on Venus is 60 times the speed of the planet's rotation while fastest wind speed recorded on Earth is only 10 to 20 per cent of the rotation speed.
  10. More than 40 unmanned space crafts ever visited on Venus.
  11. Like Our Moon, Venus also has phases.
  12. Until Soviet and American Spacecraft visited on Venus, people used to think that under the thick cloud, Venus is lush and green.
  13. Venus’s surface is approximately 300 to 400 million years old, while the Earth’s surface is only 100 million old.

Detailed Facts About Venus

  • The discovery of Venus is unknown

Nicolaus Copernicus
Nicolaus Copernicus

Except for a few planets, the discovery of most of them can be attributed to somebody or somebodies. Venus comes in the minority in this case. It is impossible to pinpoint its original discovery. Being so bright on a clear night, Venus can be visible to the naked eye. Meaning that any ancient civilisation could be credited with the first observation.

One of the oldest records is in the Babylonian text, Which has a 21-year history of Venus' appearance. Copernicus, and later in 1610 Galileo Galilei are responsible for Venus’ classification as a planet. While in 1761 Mikhail Lomonosov discovered the planet’s gaseous atmosphere.
  • Venus was named after the Goddess of love

Venus - Goddess of love and beauty
Venus - Goddess of love and beauty
© Flicker

Like many of its planetary brethren, Venus received its most popular moniker via a selection of Roman gods and goddesses. In this case, Venus was named after the Roman Goddess of love and beauty – a counterpart to Greek’s Aphrodite.

It wasn’t always known as such, especially to ancient Babylonians. They recognised Venus as the Star of Ishtar, their own goddess of fertility, love, war and sex. In fact, the symbol for womanhood has adopted as the symbol for this planet of love and strong women.
  • Greeks and Romans unknowingly turned Venus into two different stars.

The brightest on the image is Venus and second brightst is Jupiter
The brightest object on the image is Venus, and the second brightest is Jupiter
© Wikimedia
Due to proximity to the sun, Venus disappears for many days and reappears on the other horizon. This irregular appearance lead some ancient culture to recognize it to as two different body. For the Greeks, Venus was both Phosphorus and Hesperus, whereas the Romans recognised it as Lucifer and Vesper. But neither did they knew that the alleged two entity they were referring were actually one body.

The source of the confusion that led both civilisations to convinced, there was a Morning Star and Evening Star. Because, as its orbit around the Sun surpasses Earth’s orbit. Thus it is visible only after sunset and before sunrise
  • We can’t see Earth from Venus’ surface

Venus' dense atmosphere
Venus' dense atmosphere

While it’s entirely possible for view Venus from the surface of Earth on an apparent day, the same can’t be said for the reverse. If you are standing on the surface of Venus (that is not possible), you wouldn’t be able to see beyond the thick, gaseous atmosphere.

The thick atmosphere is primarily made up of Carbon Dioxide, which constitutes 96.5% of the planet's atmosphere. After Carbon Dioxide, the second main gas is Nitrogen which is about 3.5% of the atmosphere, and other gases (sulphur, argon, water vapour) are only present in traces. As the altitude decreases, the atmospheric pressure increases, and the wind speed decreases. The wind speed reduces to less than 10 km/h or 6.2 mph from 360 km/h or 220 mph on the surface.

  • The temperature of night and day at venus remains the same

Temperature on Venus

The substantial amount of carbon dioxide with water vapour and sulphur dioxide creates an intense greenhouse effect. Venus’ atmosphere allows Sunlight to pass through and heat the surface. While simultaneously in keeping infrared heat from escaping. On average, the surface temperature on Venus remains constant at 467° C or 864° F. While on earth the average temperature stays at 16° C or 61° F. Due to the incredibly high temperatures, Venus is the hottest planet in the solar system. Beating out Mercury even though it is the closest world to the Sun.

Despite the harsh weather, climatic condition at 50 km to 65 km above the surface is relatively similar to our Earth's. The temperature and pressure at this height are almost the same as compared to our planet. This unique feature of venus makes its upper atmosphere the most Earth-like region in the Solar System. Moreover, researchers suggested its upper atmosphere as a location for both exploration and colonisation.
  • Venus is sometimes called the sister planet of the Earth

Earth,Venus size comparison
Earth, Venus size comparison

Of course, Earth and Venus have their differences. But in hindsight, the two have some similar qualities. The noticeable similarity between the two is the size. The diameter of Venus is 7,520 miles or 12,103.6 km, which is only 405 miles or 653 kilometres smaller than the Earth.
Apart from this, Venus also shares rather close numbers. When it comes to volume, surface area, and mass, with each ranging between 81% and 90% that of Earth’s properties. When you dig through the many layers of Venus, you’ll also find it to have a metal core surrounded by silica rock and a thinner crust.
  • A year on Venus is shorter than a day on Venus

Venus and other inner planets orbit
Venus and other inner planets orbit

Here on Earth, we’re used to rotating at a rate that gives approximate 24-hour day. But the rotation of Venus is considerably slow. A day on venus would be equal to about eight months on Earth. It takes 224.7 earth days for Venus to complete an orbit and 243 earth days to complete a full rotation. That is the slowest rotation of any planet in the solar system. Meaning, a year on Venus is shorter than a day on Venus!

With an average distance of 108 million km or 67 million miles from the sun, its orbital path is almost perfect circle rather than an ellipse. When it goes at its farthest point, it is about 108.9 million or 67.7 million miles away from the sun. At its closest point, it is only about 107 million km or 66.7 million miles.
  • Venus is rotating completely backward

If you were standing on Venus, you would see the sun rising in the west and set in the east. Every other planet rotates in the same direction as the sun that is counterclockwise except for Uranus and Venus. Uranus spins on its sideways which is probably due to some collisions. The rotation of Venus is entirely backwards, and we don't really don't know why.

Some theory suggests that billions of years ago, a huge body is collided with venus and change its rotation. Another idea for its retrograde motion is that it rotates in the same direction as the other planet does, but somehow it flipped upside down. At present, there is no perfect explanation for venus' unusual rotation.
  • There is acid rain on Venus but not on the surface

Acid rain on Venus

Unlike the Earth, the thick clouds of Venus are made of sulfuric acid. These clouds move from poles to equator and from equator to poles in just a few days. The sulfur in the atmosphere may come from the volcanic eruption. The trace amount of water in the upper atmosphere combines with sulphur dioxide. As a result, clouds of sulfuric acid are formed that causes frequent rainstorms.

But due to extremely high temperature, the acidic rainfall evaporates before reaching the surface. This means that it does rain sulfuric acid on Venus, but not on the surface. While the sulfuric acid fall occurs 25 km high above the surface.
  • Venus is so inhospitable that neither a man nor any spacecraft could survive

Surface image of Venus by Venera 13
Surface image of Venus by Venera 13

From the 1960s to the 1980s, the Soviet Union tried to send a series of 16 spacecraft to Venus. Of the early landing attempts, Venera 3 to Venera 6 either burned up, crashed or got crushed by Venus’ extreme temperatures and high pressure. In 1970, Venera 7 made history, being the first spacecraft to ever land on a different planet and transmit information back to Earth. It sent back 23 minutes of data before dying.

Since then, another 9 Venera missions had been sent. Along with over a dozen journeys from NASA and the European Space Agency. The most extended transmission from Venus was through Venera 13, which lasted for 127 minutes before melting.
  • 175 million ago Venus was a habitable planet

Venus may have had shallow oceans
Venus may have had shallow oceans

Venus may be a scorching surface of death today, but that may not have always been the case. Scientists used 3-D models of Venus and simulated how its atmosphere would evolve if the planet had an ocean containing 10% the volume of our oceans. They found because of Venus’ super slow rotation rate and the fact our sun was cooler in the past. The planet would have been pretty habitable for billions of years.

As the sun gets older, it becomes hotter, as a result, water on the surface of Venus evaporated over time. Then the ultraviolet light from the Sun breaks the water vapour into oxygen and hydrogen. The hydrogen was light enough to escape the atmosphere and the Oxygen mixed with the Carbon. It creates a thick carbon dioxide atmosphere that is still on Venus.
  • Volcano on Venus is more than any other planet in the solar system

Maat Mons, highest volcano on Venus
Maat Mons, highest volcano on Venus

In 1990, the data from Magellan revealed that 90% of Venus' surface is covered with lava flows and broad shield volcanoes. There are more than 1600 significant volcanoes and 167 bigger than 100 kilometres in diameter. No one yet counted all the volcanoes, there is a possibility of more than 100,000 small volcanoes.

The highest volcano on Venus is Maat Mons. It is about 395 km or 245 miles in diameter and height is 8 km. It seems that the entire planet is a supervolcano, an extremely large pressure cooker of barely-constrained magma. In every few hundred million years, the whole surface gets into an enormous eruption. Covering everything in lava!

How about these Venus Facts?

Those are the interesting Facts about Venus. How about you? Want to know more information and facts about Venus? Check out these links:
  1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/ wiki/Venus
  2. https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/ planets/venus/overview/
  3. https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/ planets/venus/in-depth/
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