The planet Venus

An image of the planet Venus hovering in space. On the planet is written "Venus".

General information about Venus

An image that shows all the planets and highlights Venus.
Venus, the second planet from the Sun, is very similar to Earth from a far. However, at close range, it is a completely different world.
  • The planet Venus is the second farthest planet from the Sun (the second planet in the solar system).
  • Venus belongs to the planets of the Earth group and is named after the ancient Roman goddess of love and beauty. Venus has no natural satellites. It has a dense atmosphere.
  • Venus has been known to people since ancient times.
  • Venus’s neighbors are Mercury and Earth.
  • The structure of Venus is a matter of debate. The most likely one is: an iron core with 25% of the mass of the planet, a mantle (extending 3300 kilometers deep into the planet) and a crust 16 kilometers thick.
  • A large part of the surface of Venus (90%) is covered by solidified basaltic lava. There are vast hills, the largest of which are comparable in size with the earth’s continents, mountains and tens of thousands of volcanoes. Impact craters on Venus are virtually absent.
  • The planet Venus has no magnetic field.
  • Venus is the third brightest object in the Earth’s sky after the Sun and the Moon.

Orbit of Venus

Picture of Venus and Earth orbit around the sun.
How long is the orbit of Venus? What is the rotation period of Venus? How is the rotational motion of Venus?
  • The average distance from Venus to the Sun is just under 108 million kilometers (0.72 astronomical units).
  • Perihelion (the orbital point closest to the Sun): 107.5 million kilometers (0.718 astronomical units).
  • Aphelion (the farthest point of the orbit from the Sun): 108.9 million kilometers (0.728 astronomical units).
  • Average speed of Venus in orbit is 35 kilometers per second.
  • For one orbit around the Sun the planet needs 224.7 Earth days.
  • The duration of a day on Venus is 243 Earth days.
  • Distance from Venus to Earth ranges from 38 to 261 million kilometers.
  • The direction of rotation of Venus is opposite to the direction of rotation of all planets (except Uranus) of the solar system.

Physical properties of Venus

Image of the features of venus compared to earth.
Characteristics of planet Venus
  • The surface temperature of Venus reaches 477°C.
  • Venus is the sixth largest planet in our solar system.
  • Venus has a radius of 6052 kilometers (95% of the radius of the Earth).
  • The surface area of Venus is 460,234,317 square kilometers (about 90.2% of Earth’s surface area).
  • Venus is the second most dense planet (after Earth) in the solar system.
  • The acceleration of free fall on Venus is 8.87 meters per second squared (0.905 g).
  • Venus has a mass of 4.87 x 1024 kilograms, which is about 81.5% of Earth’s mass.
  • Venus has the densest atmosphere of any planet in the Earth group.

Atmosphere of Venus

  • The atmosphere of Venus consists mainly of carbon dioxide and nitrogen.
  • The rotation speed of Venus’ atmosphere is more than 60 times faster than the rotation speed of the planet.
  • The wind speed on Venus reaches 360 kilometers per hour.
  • The atmosphere of Venus contains clouds of sulfuric acid.
  • The average atmospheric pressure on Venus is 93 bar, which is equivalent to being submerged in water 1.6 kilometers deep.
  • The dense atmosphere produces a strong greenhouse effect.

Exploring Venus

  • To date, more than 40 spacecraft from the USSR, the United States, Japan and the European Space Agency have explored Venus.
  • The first spacecraft to successfully land on the surface of Venus was the Soviet Venera-7 automated interplanetary station.
  • The first spacecraft to transmit a color image of the Venusian surface was the unmanned Soviet interplanetary station Venera-13.
  • The most detailed and comprehensive radar mapping of Venus was performed by NASA’s Magellan Space probe.

Interesting facts about Venus

  • An object that weighs 100 kilograms on Earth weighs 91 kilograms on Venus.
  • The sun on Venus rises in the west and sets in the east.
  • Of all the planets in the solar system, only Venus and Mercury have no natural satellites.
  • Venus is the hottest planet in the solar system.
  • The duration of a day on Venus (243 Earth days) is longer than the duration of a year (224.7 Earth days).

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