Venus Facts and Information

Venus is named after the Greek god of love and beauty, because of its brightness. Venus is one of the planets that have been seen since prehistoric times.

Venus is named after the Greek goddess Aphrodite, who is known for being the goddess of beauty and love. The planet has actually been noticed since prehistoric times. Venus is the second planet in order from the sun in the solar system. Besides the sun and the moon Venus is one of the brightest objects in the night sky. Venus is nicknamed because of its brightness, the morning star and the evening star depending which side of the sky it is appearing in. In the ancient times Venus was called Hesperus and the morning star was known as Lucifer or Phosphorus. From the way the sun and the earth rotate Venus is not visible three hours before the sunrises, and three hours after the sunsets.

Venus facts and information

Venus is considered Earth’s sister planet because of certain similarities. The planet is slightly smaller the Earth. These planets also have few craters, which shows they are relatively young planets. Also they both have similar compositions and densities. Initially they thought Venus was so much like Earth there might be life on it, but after many studies they realized t was very different from Earth.

When Venus is full it will appear as the smallest because it is located on the far side of the sun. The planet is brightest when it takes the crescent shape. Venus goes through the phases and positions in the sky like the synodic period of 1.6 years.

Studying Venus from earth is hard because a deep atmosphere covers the planet; a large percentage of knowledge about Venus comes from space vehicles and probes that can go through the atmosphere. In 1962 the Mariner 2 was the first flyby from the United States, followed up by the Mariner 5 in 1967 and the Mariner 10 in 1974. Around the same time the Soviet Union had started sending entry probes, first was the Venera 4 and 5 in 1967. All the way up until 1983 there were probes sent every couple of years, the final one was the Venera 16. They sent Vega 1 and 2 up after Halley’s comet in 1984. The probes had reached the surface of Venus with out many problems. The United States sent Pioneer Venus 1 and Pioneer Venus 2 in 1978, which released four probes towards the surface. The Pioneer Venus 1 stayed in the upper atmosphere. In 1989 the Magellan probe was launched and was transmitting radar images of the planet in 1990.

The Venus atmosphere is made up of mainly carbon dioxide. Surface temperature of the planet is about 462 degrees Celsius and the surface pressure is 96 bars. The base in the cloud is made up of particles of sulfuric acid. They have not been able to detect a magnetic field. The lack of a magnetic field still allows Venus to have enough solar wind to make an induced magnetosphere.

Mainly the atmosphere is made up of carbon dioxide, but a small percent is made of nitrogen gas. Scientist believe that because Venus is so close to the sun, it has received the greenhouse effect the oceans have evaporated. There is little water or water vapors on the planet. With the green house effect the water molecules may have been lost into space and the oxygen atoms down to the crust. Some other scientists believe the maybe Venus never had much water to begin with.

One planet away from Venus, earth has sulfuric acid that comes down in rain, known as acid rain. Yet on Venus the sulfuric acid evaporates where the clouds and stays inside the atmosphere. There is a haze about 70 to 80 kilometers above Venus. Pioneer Venus 1 has observed upper parts of the clouds; this showed clouds of a pale yellow color. The yellow is from the content of sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere, possible from volcanism on the planet. There have been several observations of the cloud patterns from the sky, showing the motion of the wind on Venus. There is an upper cloud that covers the planet with winds spinning at 369 km/h. Even though these top clouds are moving at such a high rate the rest of the atmosphere is nearly stagnant. The main belief about the high speeds are from the lover atmosphere to the higher levels where the atmosphere is not as massive, this momentum is the result of the higher velocity. The Pioneer Venus 1 was able to observe the upper atmosphere and ionosphere in great detail. The temperature on Venus is very cold at night; the reasoning for the cold is the winds will bow from the dayside to a vacuum. There is a night-side bulge from the hydrogen and helium gases that are dragged along with the wind

Venus is a unique planet and has many different surface features. This planet rotates in the opposite of the earth, known as retrograde. The synodic year is about five solar days long; so that when Venus faces earth it is always the same side. The Pioneer Venus 1 had an antenna, which allowed them to be able to do a global survey. With all the surveying that had been done, shows the surface of Venus is made up of mainly flat plains and has two continent-sized highland areas. The great areas have been named Ishtar Terra and Aphrodite Terra from manifestations that the goddess Venus had. There are many broad depressions like Atalanta Planitia, Guinevere Planitia, and Lavinia Planitia. From the Magellan they were able to see huge active volcanoes, as well as a number of meteorite craters. Other surveys have shown that there is a great number of tectonic activities that have taken place.


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