Venus is the 2nd planet closest to the Sun in our solar system. While the planet appears to be a gleaming silver gem, it is in fact a rocky wasteland hotter than the planet Mercury, and lives under a carbon dioxide atmosphere that is denser than water. Sulfuric acid moisture falls to the surface causing a toxic mist, and permanently gives the planet and orange color.
The orbit of Venus lies between the Earth and the Sun. It can only be seen from Earth, in the twilight after sunset or in the dusk before sunrise. This is why it is sometimes called the evening star or the morning star.
The planet is named after the goddess of love and beauty from Roman mythology, the Greek counterpart is Aphrodite, who is also the goddess of love and beauty. The name comes from the planet being the brightest planet seen from Earth.
Venus’s atmosphere is made up almost entirely of carbon dioxide produced by the vast erupting volcanoes when the planet was young. Sunlight can penetrate this atmosphere and heat the planet but the heat waves from the surface cannot escape into space because of the thick cloud layers. The heat is trapped and continues to heat the planet.
It is difficult to acknowledge who actually discovered Venus first because it can be seen with the naked eye. While the ancients knew the bright light in the sky existed they didn’t know what it was.
Copernicus was the first to develop an astronomical model, in 1543, of the Solar System that placed the Sun at the center, of the planets orbiting it.
Galileo in 1610, established Copernicus’ theory by showing that Venus went through distinct phases, These phases matched the predictions made by Copernicus, and demonstrated that Venus was really a planet, orbiting the Sun and did not orbit the Earth.
The Magellan spacecraft mapped out 99% of the surface of Venus in a 1990-1992 mission. Through this mission was discovered the Maat Mons a volcanic feature approximately 5 miles high.
The planet is approximately 7,545 miles in diameter, and is 0.82 the size of Earths mass. It is also 25 million miles from Earth. The length of a year on Venus equals 225 Earth years, and a day lasts approximately 225 Earth days.