Some interesting facts about our planetary neighbor – Venus

Venus is the closest planet to us in terms of proximity. The second planet from the Sun has been the subject of curiosity among humans for several millennia. From cultural connotations to scientific exploration Venus is one of the hottest planets out there – both figuratively and literally. Venus is named after the Roman goddess of beauty.

Here are some interesting facts about Venus.

Venus is the brightest planet that we can see from Earth.

Venus is so bright that it is even visible in broad daylight. In fact, in terms of brightness, it is only outshined by the Moon. It is because of its incredible brightness many cultures have studied the planet with much reverence.

Venus is the hottest planet in our Solar System

It is natural for many of us to expect that this title belongs to Mercury, who is much closer to Sun. But being a small planet, Mercury does not have a thick atmosphere like Venus. The atmosphere in Venus is made up of 95 percent carbon dioxide and 3.5 percent nitrogen, with trace amounts of sulfur dioxide, carbonyl sulfide, and some other hydrogen-based compounds. This greenhouse blanket traps the heat from the Sun’s radiation inside the planet, bringing its surface temperatures close to 462 °C. That is enough to melt lead in an instant.

 

A day in Venus is longer than a year there

Venus rotates much slower than Earth on its axis and does it in the opposite direction. It takes Venus about 243 Earth days to complete one rotation and only 223.7 Earth days to finish one revolution around the Sun. Some scientists believe that the opposite direction is rotation might have been caused by a large-scale collision with a space object sometime in the past.

 

Venus is considered to be Earth’s twin sister

Given how similar Earth and Venus are in size, we consider Venus as a twin sister to Earth. Venus has a diameter of around 12,103.6 km which is only 634.4 km less than that of the Earth. With total mass equal to that of around 81 percent of Earth’s mass Venus shares a similar layer structure to that of Earth – Core, Mantle Crust. Venus’ core is around 6000km wide, its mantle stretches up to 3000km, and has a crust that is about 10-20 kM thick.

 

Venus has a weaker magnetic field than Earth

Though being similarly sized Venus’ magnetic field is weak compared to that of Earth. Scientists believe this is because of the slow rotation of Venus on its axis and the absence of internal convection. Planets like Earth have stronger magnetic fields because of the dynamo effect created by the strong axial rotation acting in tandem with the relatively slower rotating core.

 

Super rotation and strange lightning

Another interesting fact about Venus is that it is one of the rare planets that we know to show the phenomenon called super-rotation. It was discovered for the first time in 1960 when astronomers noted that winds in the upper atmosphere of Venus were blowing at speeds 60 times faster than the winds at its surface. The winds can reach up to 200 m/s allowing it to complete one full rotation around the planet’s axis in around 4 Earth days.

 

Lighting on Earth is caused by the presence of water and charged particles in the atmosphere. But Venus also has some strange type of lightning going on there thanks to clouds made of sulphuric acid. This strange lightning was discovered by the European Space Agency’s Venus Express probe.

 

 

 

 

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