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Venus is the second closest planet to the Sun and has a similar size to Earth. It is named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty. It has a dense atmosphere of mainly carbon dioxide which retains a lot of the Sun’s heat, making it the hottest planet.

Guide to Planet Venus

Venus is the second planet from the Sun. It is similar in size to the Earth and it also has a similar composition. Like our planet, Venus has a hot iron core surrounded by a mantle. The planet also has a dense atmosphere of mainly carbon dioxide which can retain a lot of the Sun’s heat making it the hottest planet in our solar system, with an average temperature of 464°C (867°F). It has the least elliptical orbit out of all the planets. After our own Moon, it is the brightest object in the night sky, which is perhaps why the planet is named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty.

Venus is the closest planet to Earth, with an average distance of 41 million km, but missions to Venus can be difficult due to the extreme temperatures found on the planet’s surface. There have been several unmanned missions to Venus. In 1970 the Soviet Union landed Venera 7, making it the first spacecraft to land on another planet. Between 1990-1994, the Magellan mission orbited the planet and managed to image 98% of the planet's surface.

A Venusian year lasts 224.7 Earth days. Venus and Uranus are interesting as the planets’ rotations on their axis are opposite to all other planets in the solar system. Venus has the longest day out of all other planets at 243 Earth days.

Venus Facts

  • Orbital Period: 225 Earth days
  • Length of a Day:243 Earth days
  • Diameter: 12,104 km
  • Distance from the Sun: 108,000,000 km
  • Strength of Gravity: 8.9 N/kg
  • Number of Moons: 0
Learn more about the stars and other celestial bodies in our Picture Encyclopedia of Astronomy Terms!
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