10 mind-boggling facts about the Earth’s twin sister planet!
Venus,the second planet from the Sun, is sometimes called the Earth’s twin. However, it is shockingly different from our planet. Let’s discover the most amazing of her secrets
The Earth and Venus are very similar in size. The diameter of the latter is 12,100 km which is only 640 km less than Earth’s.
Interestingly, Venus is the only planet in the Solar system with a female name. Perhaps it was named after an ancient Roman goddess of beauty because it shines brightly on the sky.
All surface features of Venus are named after historical and mythological women with the exception of Maxwell Montes, named after James Clerk Maxwell, and highland regions Alpha Regio, Beta Regio, and Ovda Regio.
Venus orbit is almost spherical and its average distance from the Sun changes only slightly. Venusian year is shorter than ours and lasts for 225 earthly days (the time needed to complete a single orbit around the Sun). On the other hand, Venusian day is the longest in the Solar system, it lasts for 243 earthly days because Venus’s rotation period is the longest among other planets.
So, this is a unique planet with a day being longer than its year!
Earth rotates around its axis anticlockwise from East to West whereas Venus rotates vice versa from West to East. Venus and Uranus are the only two planets in the Solar system where the Sun rises on the West and sets on the East.
As far as Venus’s period of rotation is very slow, its liquid metal core cannot produce a magnetic field. Perhaps it is also much smaller than the earthly core.
Venus is the hottest planet in our planetary system. It is even hotter than Mercury which is the closest to the Sun. The reason is that Venus has a very dense atmosphere which causes the so-called green-house effect. As a result, the temperature on the daytime hemisphere of the planet may reach 870⁰ F (465⁰ C). Such temperature is enough to melt lead!
Venusian atmosphere can be called hellish. It consists mainly of carbon dioxide and clouds of sulphuric acid. This atmosphere is the densest and heaviest in the Solar system and its pressure is 90 times higher than the Earth’s!
All the cosmic probes sent to Venus could work on its surface only for a couple of hours, after which they were destroyed because of extremely high temperature and pressure.
Numerous researches proved that there is no water on the surface of Venus because high temperature simply makes it steam away. However, scientists believe there are some small amounts of water in the atmosphere of the planet.
According to one of the hypothesis, once Venus like Earth had great amounts of water but around 300 million years ago it dried out because of the increase in the Sun radiation.
Venus and Mercury are the only two planets in the Solar system that don’t have natural satellites.
(The three brightest spots in the picture - Moon, Venus and Mercury)
Venus was first photographed from space in December 1962 by the space probe Mariner 2 which passed the planet at the distance of 21,600 miles after a 3.5-month flight. Venus became the first planet besides Earth photographed from space.
The first probe that landed successfully on Venus on December 15, 1970 was the Soviet probe Venus 7.
(In the picture - Mariner 2)
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