Forget the universe as a whole. Let us for the time being concentrate on our Solar System. It is filled with mind-boggling wonders. One such wonder is the planet Venus.
So, if you were looking for Venus facts either for your school assignment or simply because your curious mind felt the insatiable urge for more knowledge, you are at the right place. Here we give you 40 interesting facts about Venus and help you know our Solar System a little better than your existing knowledge.
Interesting Venus Facts: 1-5
1. If you stand on Sun (literally you cannot) and look at the planets, Venus will be the second planet you will see revolving around the Sun.
2. Venus has no moon of its own.
3. Of all planets in our Solar System, Venus is the only planet that has been named after a female. Venus is actually the name of the Roman goddess of beauty and love. The reason why the Romans named the planet after a goddess is that it was the only planet of the 5 known planets to ancient astronomers that was the brightest in night sky.
4. As far as modern astronomy is concerned, we are not really after beauty of the planet. It is no doubt a beautiful planet but what’s more interesting is that its size and mass is very similar to our Earth and hence, it is often called as Earth’s Twin or Earth’s Sister.
5. The total mass of Venus is 4.8676×1024 kilograms. It is not making enough sense, right? Let us simplify. It weighs 4,867,600,000,000,000 billion kilograms. That is exactly 81.5% of the mass of Earth.
Interesting Venus Facts: 6-10
6. As far as size is concerned, this planet has a diameter of 12,092 kilometers, making it smaller than Earth by 650 kilometers in terms of diameter. This is actually the equatorial diameter.
7. If the polar diameter of the planet is measured (diameter measured from North Pole to South Pole), it is exactly the same as its equatorial diameter. Thus Venus, unlike Earth, is a perfect sphere and there is no flattening around the poles.
8. The orbit of Venus is not circular. It is slightly elliptical. The closest the planet can get to Sun (perihelion) is 107,477,000 kilometers and the farthest it can get from Sun (aphelion) is 108,939,000 kilometers.
9. Venus takes 224.70 Earth days to complete on revolution around the Sun.
10. The surface gravity of the planet is 8.87 m/s2 and escape velocity (the velocity required to escape the gravitational pull of the planet) is 10.36 km/s.
Interesting Venus Facts: 11-15
11. Venus takes 243 Earth days to complete one rotation around its axis. Thus, one day on Venus is equivalent to 243 days on Earth.
12. Take a closer look at points 8 and 10. Venus takes 224.70 Earth days to complete on revolution around Sun and 243 Earth days to complete one rotation around its axis. Thus, one day on Venus actually outlast one year on Venus! Weird, right?
13. We said that Venus is called Earth’s Twin or Earth’s Sister and that’s because they have almost same size. However, the atmospheric conditions on these two planets differ significantly. Venus’ atmospheric pressure is 92 times greater than that on our Earth. This means that if anyone tries to walk on its surface, he or she will be crushed to death.
14. The pressure that will be experienced by a human on the surface of Venus is equivalent to the pressure experienced by him or her 1 km under the sea.
15. Because of the immense atmospheric pressure on Venus, any asteroid that tries to enter Venus’ atmosphere is crushed to pieces even before it hits the surface. Thus, craters formed by asteroid impact are nearly absent on the planet. Whatever existed are now being constantly covered by the lava flows from the volcanoes that thrive on the planet.
Interesting Venus Facts: 16-20
16. The atmospheric pressure of Venus is not at all friendly for us. Apart from that the surface temperature is another feature that will kill any human. The temperature on surface of this planet is 462 degrees Celsius. That’s more than enough to kill us. Why is the temperature so high?
17. The temperature on Venus is high because of its amplified greenhouse effect. 96.5% of the atmospheric gas of Venus is carbon dioxide which is responsible for increasing the surface temperature of the planet by trapping heat.
18. While the majority of the planet’s atmosphere is carbon dioxide, it also contains 3.5% nitrogen and trace amounts of neon, helium, carbon monoxide, water, argon and sulfur dioxide.
19. Venus rotates in the opposite direction to that of Earth. Every other planet in Solar System rotates counter-clockwise while only Venus rotates clockwise. One possible cause, as explained by scientists, is that in earlier days of Venus a big asteroid collided with it and changed its direction of rotation.
20. Because of the extremely high surface temperature of the planet, its surface is dry. Liquid water is not found on its surface.
Interesting Venus Facts: 21-25
21. Nearly 2/3rd of the surface of Venus consists of smooth and flat plains that are often marred by volcanoes. There are thousands of volcanoes on the planet that range anywhere between 0.5 and 150 miles in width.
22. Lava flows from these volcanoes have created over 3000 miles of long and winding canals. Well, that’s longer than any other planet in our entire Solar System.
23. Venus has 6 mountain ranges. One of them is known as Maxwell that covers 540 miles in length with a maximum height of 7 miles. That’s the highest mountain on surface of Venus.
24. Apart from mountains and volcanoes, Venus has other surface features such as coronae and tesserae. Coronae (aka crowns) are structures that look very much like rings that can have a width of 95 to 360 miles. Scientists believe that coronae were formed when hot material from below the crust rose up and wrapped the surface.
25. Tesserae (aka tiles) are actually raised surface areas forming valleys and ridges in different directions.
Interesting Venus Facts: 26-30
26. Scientists have figured out that the core of the planet is made of iron but they don’t know whether it is solid or molten. The core of the planet is nearly 2,400 miles in width. Above the core is the mantle made of molten rock, which is around 1,200 miles thick. The crust of Venus is around 6 to 12 miles in thickness and is mostly made of basalt.
27. Venusian atmosphere consists of clouds made of sulfuric acid and the top layer of these clouds travel all around the planet. These clouds are actually propelled by high-speed hurricane-like winds having a speed of 224 miles an hour. Thus actually the atmosphere of the planet rotates at a very high speed completing one rotation in 4 Earth days. Thus the atmosphere actually rotates 60 times faster than Venus itself!
28. This is a weird phenomenon because the speed of wind near the surface of the planet is very slow and is only about a few miles an hour.
29. In 2005, European Space Agency launched a spacecraft named Venus Express which found that lightning exists on the planet. Interestingly however, lightning was not associated with water clouds but was rather associated with sulfuric acid clouds.
30. Upper clouds of Venus have unusual blue stripes that are often known as ‘ultraviolet or blue absorbers’. They are so called because these stripes actually absorb light in ultraviolet or blue wavelength. Interestingly enough, these blue stripes soak up nearly half of solar energy absorbed by the entire planet. Scientists believe that these blue stripes are responsible for the hellish conditions that thrive on the planet.
Interesting Venus Facts: 31-35
31. Before any space crafts were sent by the Soviets and Americans to study the planet closely, people used to think that underneath the thick clouds of Venus one could find lush green tropical forests. The discovery of the hellish conditions eventually came as a shock to everyone.
32. The planet has the largest number of volcanoes compared to any other planet in this Solar System. According to astronomers, there are over 1,600 volcanoes on the planet and there are probably many smaller ones that are way too small for us to notice.
33. Many space crafts have been sent to Venus. The first one was in 1961 by Soviets. The craft was known as Venera 1. Somehow the Soviets lost contact. Next was NASA’s Mariner 1 which was also lost. Then it was Mariner 2 by NASA that orbited the planet from a distance of 34,833 km above the surface of Venus. In 1966 Venera 3 by the Soviets ended up with a crash landing on Venus. In 1967 Venera 4 managed to successfully enter Venusian atmosphere and deployed scientific instruments. However, Soviets miscalculated the density of the atmosphere before launching the craft and failed to reach the surface of Venus because its batteries ran down.
34. Soviets launched Venera 5 and Venera 6 based on the data received from Venera 4. The new crafts were launched in 1969. They were not designed to reach the surface and were crushed when they were 20 km above the surface.
35. Venera 7 in 1970 eventually landed on the surface of the planet but because its parachute was somehow partially torn, the craft landed with solid impact on ground and tilted sidewise but sent data with weak signal for 23 minutes, making it the first ever telemetry from another planet’s surface.
Interesting Venus Facts: 36-40
36. Then Soviets sent Venera 8, Venera 9, Venera 10, Venera 11, Venera 12, Venera 13 and Venera 14 all of which successfully landed on Venus and sent multitude of information about the surface, terrain, atmosphere etc. Venera 13 and Venera 14 sent first colored photographs of the Venusian surface.
37. The several probes that were sent by the Soviets and the Americans eventually found that the middle cloud layer of the Venusian atmosphere travel around the planet at a speed of 450 miles an hour. That’s faster than Earth’s fastest or speediest tornado ever recorded.
38. Venus is the second brightest object visible from Earth in night sky. The first one is moon. Venus has apparent magnitude of -3.8 to -4.6. Apparent magnitude is the measure of brightness of any celestial body when viewed from Earth.
39. Venus, according to early or ancient civilizations, was two different bodies. For the Greeks it was Phosphorus and Hesperus and for the Romans it was Lucifer and Vesper. This happened primarily because of fast revolution speed of the planet making it visible just after Sunset and just before Sunrise. Mayan Civilization in 650 AD made detailed observation of the planet.
40. Galileo Galilei, an Italian astronomer, observed in 1610 that Venus has phases like that of moon. When the planet is between Sun and Earth, it has a new phase and when it is behind the Sun, the planet is in full phase.
That concludes our list of planet Venus facts. Do you have some more to share? Let us and everyone else. We will be glad to know.