When you think of the planets in our universe today, you likely think of Earth and Mars. After all, they receive the most attention, right?
There is, however, one planet that is close to Earth that does not receive nearly enough attention. Which one I hear you say? Well, Venus!
Here at Living Cosmos, we’ve combed the internet to find you 29 of the most fascinating facts about planet Venus that you have to know!
Without further ado, let’s get started!
1. Second Planet From the Sun
Venus is the second planet from the sun and the Earth’s closest neighbor. It is also the hottest planet! Not surprisingly, given its proximity to the sun.
2. One Day on Planet Venus
One of the most fascinating facts about Venus is that one single day is equal to about 243 days on Earth. Yes, that’s right. It takes nearly one year in Earth time for Venus to experience one Venusian day. If you were living on Venus, your years would feel quite long.
Related: How to see Venus with a telescope
3. Venus is the Brightest Object in the Sky After the Moon
When day turns to night, Venus is the brightest object in the night sky after the moon. This is why it is often referred to as the “Evening Star” as well as the “Morning Star”, depending on the time of day.
4. Moonless and Ringless
Sadly, Venus does not have a moon nor any rings. This sets it apart from nearly all other planets in our solar system. Although Venus is lonely, it has plenty of action happening on its surface, as you’ll soon discover.
5. Reverse Rotation
One fascinating fact about Venus is that it does not rotate in alignment with the sun. In fact, it rotates in the exact opposite direction, making it a unique planet by that fact alone. Why does it do this?
Well, we aren’t sure, but one hypothesis is that Venus may have been hit by an object a long time ago. This may have been a massive asteroid which disrupted its perhaps previously normal rotation and rhythms.
6. Sister Planet
In many scientific circles, Venus is often called Earth’s “Sister Planet” because of its similar size and structure. Venus is not actually as big as Earth, although it’s not far off.
However, Venus is not so similar to Earth in that it has a toxic atmosphere not at all conducive to life – clearly different to the green and blue rock we live on!
Related: Venus and Earth compared
7. Hot, Hot, Hot
Currently, it’s known that Venus is, in fact, the hottest planet in our entire solar system. It’s estimated that the temperature on Venus is around 900 degrees Fahrenheit (475 degrees Celsius), all year-round. It’s hot enough to melt metal on Venus!
Why so hot? Well, Venus is surrounded by a thick atmosphere that traps the heat, creating a massive greenhouse effect.
This is the main reason why there are no signs of life on Venus.
Below is a computer generated image of the volcano Sif Mons on Venus. How exciting would it be to see that up close and personal?!
8. Inhabitable Atmosphere
Unfortunately, even if you wanted to, it would not be possible to relocate to the planet Venus. Venus has a dense, toxic atmosphere made up of mostly carbon dioxide and dangerous sulfuric acid (it sure sounds dangerous), and is devoid of the oxygen necessary in order to sustain human life. We won’t be visiting then!
9. Venus Reflects the Majority of its Light
A fact about Venus is that it reflects the majority of sunlight that reaches it. It’s estimated that planet Venus reflects up to 70% of the sunlight that reaches the planet. This is an effect of its dense clouds and intense atmosphere.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, it’s known that Earth absorbs 70% of incoming solar radiation.
This leaves only 30% of it being reflected back out into space.
10. Venus is Not a Boring Planet
While Venus is not somewhere you could likely ever visit, nobody can say that Venus is not an exciting planet worthy of the most engaging sci-fi books and moview. Venus is fascinating as it is replete with valleys, mountains, and thousands of volcanoes.
Funnily enough, if Venus were habitable, it would be a joy for those who love adventure, being active and exploring the great outdoors.
11. Extensive Exploration Adventures
You may hear a lot in the news about missions to the moon and Mars and explorations of the surfaces of both. However, did you know that more than 40 spacecraft have gone to Venus for exploration and data-mining purposes?
Since the early 60s, the US and Russia have deployed a combined 40+ spacecraft to and around Venus. These missions sought to take photographs and collect as much data as possible about the surface and sky atmosphere on Venus.
12. The Gravity on Venus is Similar to That on Earth
Did you know that although Venus has plenty of anomalies with regard to other planets (we call it an “anomalous” planet), it has a similar amount of gravity as Earth?
This is another reason why Venus is often referred to as the ‘Sister Planet’ of Earth. If Venus were somewhere we could live, the level of gravity you’d experience would be so close to Earth’s gravity it would almost feel as if you were in your “home away from home”!
Essentially, on Venus, the surface gravity is approximately 91% of the surface gravity that is found here on Earth. To put that in perspective, if you’re a 100 lb human being on planet Earth, you would actually weigh in at around 91 lbs on planet Venus.
13. Venus Crosses in Front of the Sun
Venus is another rare planet as it is one of only two planets that cross in front of the sun from our point of view on Earth. Since the 1600s, when telescopes were invented and used for space exploration and discovery, there have been more than 60 transits of these crossovers recorded for historical purposes.
14. Venus Has a Wide Range of Distance From Planet Earth
Just like any other planet in our solar system, Venus also has a circular path that takes it around the sun in one Venusian year.
When Venus is closest to planet Earth, it can be measured at around 26 million miles from Earth (around 41,842,944 kilometers).
However, when it is at its farthest, it can be measured at around 163 million miles (262,323,072 kilometers) from Earth.
15. Venus Has a Long History
Venus has been recorded throughout history in many different cultures and peoples. It is likely that Venus was first discovered and recorded in the 17th century BCE. The Maya were also interested in following Venus, as a document discovered from 1500 CE talks about Venus and its association with the Mayan culture and society.
16. 17th Century CE Galileo Discovery
In the early 17th century CE, Galileo discovered Venus with his telescope. This opened up an entire world (quite literally) of possibilities. When Galileo discovered Venus, he also quickly noted that Venus appeared to have different shapes based on timing.
This was quickly associated with the phases of the moon as we experienced here on Earth. At times, the planet Venus is more visible to us on Earth than at other times, depending on the date and location of Venus at the time.
17. Venus Rotates in the Same Direction as Uranus
As stated above, Venus rotates in the opposite direction as most of the planets in our solar system. However, Uranus does rotate in the same direction as Venus, making it another anomalous planet.
18. A Weakened Magnetic Field
Unfortunately, the magnetic field on Venus is much weaker than the magnetic field found here on planet Earth.
This is likely due to the slow speed of rotation that Venus experiences, resulting in a much longer day and year.
19. The Day Friday in History
The day “Friday” in history is said to be ruled by Venus, according to many different sets of ancient beliefs. Many different days are named after planets, Gods, and Goddesses, depending on who is worshiping at the time and what cultural beliefs play a role in society.
20. It Has Record-Breaking Mountain Ranges
Impressively enough, we have plenty of data on Venus and its mountain ranges. It is thought that Venus is covered in rocky terrain, mountains, peaks, and valleys, giving the planet plenty of character throughout.
The highest mountain known on planet Venus is Maxwell Montes. Maxwell Montes stands approximately 5.46 miles, or 8.8 kilometers in total.
At this height, the mountain range is comparable to Mount Everest, which is one of the largest mountain peaks known to man on planet Earth.
21. Light Travels Fast
In space, light can travel impressively fast or dauntingly slow, depending on your angle and location. When it comes to planet Venus, however, light travels extraordinarily and impressively fast. Light from the sun only requires approximately 6 minutes to travel from the sun directly to Venus.
22. Venus Travels in a Near-Perfect Circle
For young students or those who are just learning about the solar system, it may be common knowledge to think of all planets circulating around the sun in a perfect circle. However, if you understand the basics of space astronomy, you know that this is simply untrue.
Most planets have their own distinct path in which they circle the sun. However, when it comes to planet Venus, it circles the sun nearly perfectly and without missing a beat. Additionally, Venus does not lie on an axis or have a similar rotation as planet Earth (and other planets in our solar system).
23. Ishtar Association
In ancient Babylon, the Babylonians often associated Venus with Ishtar, the goddess of love, war, and fertility. Ishtar is mentioned throughout many different religious beliefs and cultures throughout history.
24. Russia Landed on Venus First
While the Venera 1 Space Probe was originally launched in 1961, it lost contact with the base alongside the USA’s own Mariner 1. In 1962, however, the USA’s Mariner 2 was successful in launching and taking precise measurements of planet Venus.
In 1966, Russia (The Soviet Union) launched Venera 3. Venera 3 was able to successfully land on the surface of the planet.
25. Dense Clouds May Indicate a Future
Currently, there is no indication that life is sustainable on Venus. However, some scientists believe there may be hope. With future technologies and exploration, Venus may have more to offer.
Many scientists today believe that the dense clouds harbored on Venus may, in fact, also harbor microbial life forms of some kind.
26. Those Clouds Are Poisonous, However
Even with all of the speculation that the dense clouds on Venus may somehow hold a form of microbial life, there is no guarantee that the lifeform will be viable for long. The clouds that have been detected on Venus would be toxic to human life, as they largely filled with poisonous sulfuric acid. Thus rendering life on Venus an impossibility for now.
Most lifeforms on planet Earth simply could not survive the atmosphere of Venus.
27. What’s in a Name?
Did you know that Venus is named after a famous Roman goddess? The goddess represented love and beauty. Because Venus shone so bright in the sky, it was aptly named. The name was given to represent the light and beauty that appeared each morning and night.
28. Intense Atmospheric Pressure
Venus has extremely intense atmospheric pressure. It is estimated that the pressure on Venus is 92 times greater than the pressure felt here on Earth. It is estimated that the pressure feels equivalent to deep-sea diving on planet Earth.
29. No Seasons on Venus
Unfortunately for residents (we’re kidding, nothing can survive on Venus that we know of), there are no seasons on planet Venus. This is due to the absence of an axis rotation. Venus simply floats and spins in the opposite direction as all the other planets in our solar system.
1. Is Venus bigger than Earth?
Although Venus is often referred to as Earth’s sister planet, it’s important to remember that Venus is only approximately 81.5% of Earth’s mass. While this is close to Earth’s size, Earth is still technically larger than planet Venus.
2. Does Venus have active volcanoes?
Yes! Venus is active in terms of its surface and clouds, resulting in formations throughout the entire surface itself, including volcanoes.
3. What is a terrestrial planet?
A terrestrial planet is a planet that has terrain that is rocky with a dense atmosphere. Because Venus itself is rocky with a thick atmosphere, it is a terrestrial planet. It is also extremely hot, making it unlivable and inhabitable for human beings.
4. What makes Venus so unique?
Venus has a lot of unique qualities, including appearing similar in size to planet Earth while rotating in the opposite direction. Without moons or rings and with the ability to revolve around the sun in a perfect circle, Venus stands out. The rest of the planets in the solar system besides Uranus rotate in the opposite direction.
5. How hot is Venus, really?
As stated above, the surface temperature of Venus hovers around 462 degrees Celsius. This temperature remains year-round due to a lack of seasonal variations. This also means the surface area on the planet is actually hot enough to melt lead.
6. What is the size of Venus in kilometers?
When measuring the overall diameter of Venus, it is thought that Venus is 69, 658 miles, or 12,104 kilometers. To put it in comparison, as it is close to Earth’s diameter, the size of Mars is only 4220 miles, or 6,792 kilometers in diameter, nearly half of the size of the planet Venus.
7. How long would it take to drive from Earth to Venus?
If you wanted to hop into a car and drive from Earth to planet Venus, you would need to drive a whopping 25 million miles. This is equal to 40 million kilometers in total to reach your destination. This would obviously not be possible in one lifetime on Earth while driving as a human being.
Watch this video below on how long it would take!
8. What is the difference between Earth and Venus’ distance from the Sun in our solar system?
Venus is currently 67.25 million miles (107 kilometers) away from the sun. Currently, Earth is approximately 93 million miles (149 kilometers) from the sun.
9. What are the main characteristics of the atmosphere on Venus?
Venus is not an extremely inviting planet, as it has plenty of toxic gasses and poisonous elements. The entire atmosphere is made up of mostly carbon dioxide. The surface is covered with a range of mountaintops, valleys, peaks, and plenty of active and violent volcanoes.
Additionally, the entire planet’s atmosphere includes sulfuric acid, mercury, and ferric chloride hydrocarbons. These are all unsustainable for human life as we know it here on planet Earth. Spending any time near or around them would quickly spell disaster for you…and for humanity!
Related: Interesting facts about Mercury
10. How much atmosphere is inside of the atmosphere on planet Venus?
This question may sound complicated, but it is not too difficult to understand once you understand the basics of the atmosphere. The troposphere of Venus contains approximately 99% of all of the atmosphere. This includes the atmosphere the planet contains by mass.
It is also estimated that nearly 90% of the total atmosphere on Venus is within 17.3 miles, or 28 KM of the surface. To put that in comparison, Earth’s atmosphere includes 90% of the atmosphere within 6.21 miles, or 10 KM of the surface.
11. How old is the planet Venus?
It is estimated that Venus is approximately 4.50 billion years old. To put that in perspective, Earth is estimated to be approximately 4.54 billion years old.
Although it’s unlikely that we’ll ever spend time on planet Venus in the foreseeable future, the planet has plenty to offer in the way of fascinating facts. For those who have a love for astronomy and all things space-related, planet Venus will be an endless source of fascination!