Main Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech, Published: 2020-06-08
Venus is named after the Roman Goddess of love and beauty. It is the second planet from the sun. What is maybe most interesting about Venus is its similarity to Earth. It is almost the same size, density and it has an atmosphere. However, Venus is incredibly hot and toxic and has no moons. It is the hottest planet in the solar system.
Surface and Atmospheric Conditions
The atmosphere is filled with carbon dioxide, and there are very think clouds of sulphuric acid. Many should be familiar with that acid because it is often used in high school chemistry labs as a teaching aid. These clouds create what is known as a green house effect. This is the same things as what is feared about Earth with respect to climate change. In basic terms it means that heat is trapped within the Venus atmosphere. The surface is actually hot enough to melt lead.
Due to these cloudy conditions, the Venus surface is not easy to study. This means that special equipment has to be used to produce realistic images of the surface. Through the use of radar equipment, very impressive images of the surface have been produced. The colours used in the computer simulations are likely based off the Russian probes that have managed to land on the surface and take pictures.
The Russians have on numerous occasions landed probes on the surface. Obviously they do not last long and have limited capability to produce images. The images are indeed real photos however. This page shows these images:
Observation of Venus from Earth
Venus is easy to see in the sky because it is the 3rd brightest object after the sun and moon. It can even be seen while it is not completely dark. It is often visible just before night time or in the morning, just before the sky gets bright.
Interesting Facts about Venus
- Venus rotates on its axis backwards
- The only other strange rotation of a planet is Uranus (spins on its side)
- Venus was the first planet to be explored by space craft (Mariner 2 in 1962)
- Venus may have at one point been habitable, but it would have been at least a billion years ago
- Currently the only potential for life is observed several miles up in the atmosphere
Radar Computer Constructed Images for Venus:
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory-Caltech, Published: May 7, 2008
NASA/JPL, Published: May 10, 2004: Maat Mons
NASA/JPL, Published: 1996-02-08: Gula Mons