Guide to the planets…Venus


Fact file

  • second planet from the sun (distance from the sun: 67, 237, 910 miles)
  • thick toxic atmosphere
  • average surface temperature: 462 degrees C
  • length of year: 225 days
  • length of day: 243 days
  • number of moons: 0

Venus is often called earth’s sister planet due to it being a similar size, mass, density and distance from the sun. But in reality Venus is a very different world from Earth.

Venus has a thick atmosphere that mainly consists of carbon dioxide and sulphuric acid droplets. This creates the high temperatures on the planet’s surface as these gases trap the heat from the sun, like the greenhouse effect on earth. This has caused problems with trying to land probes onto the surface as they are usually destroyed by the atmosphere and the hot surface temperatures.  Venus also has a surface pressure that is 90 times that on Earth. Venus’ thick atmosphere means that it reflects a lot of sunlight, making it the brightest planet in the night sky when viewed from Earth. Due to the thick atmosphere, Venus has few craters from meteorite impacts. this is due to the atmosphere burning up any meteors that try and land on Venus’ surface but also because the atmosphere allows weathering and erosion to occur, meaning that any craters are often eroded away. 

Venus (photo credit: Wikimedia)

Venus has a similar size orbit to the earth, and will orbit once every 225 days. however it’s day is 243 days, making Venus’ day longer than it’s year. this means that it takes longer for Venus to rotate once on it’s axis than to complete one orbit around the sun.

Venus has thousands of volcanoes larger than 12 miles in diameter, which could be the possible reason for the large amounts of carbon dioxide and sulphur in Venus’ atmosphere. There are also two large highland areas, one the size of Australia, and another the sixe of South America. Venus’ atmosphere also has led to landforms  being created such as sand dunes.

Venus has a large iron core, similar to Earth, although unlike Earth, Venus doesn’t have a magnetic field. It is thought the reason for this is that Venus rotates too slowly on it’s axis to generate a magnetic field.



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