Venus is one of Earth’s neighbors in our relatively small solar system – but that doesn’t mean it’s close by! This hot planet isn’t likely to welcome human visitors just yet, but we can at least learn more about it from afar. If you’re a big fan of astronomy and want to know more about our celestial neighbors, dig into our fun facts about Venus.
1. It is the closest planet to Earth.
Venus is the second planet from the Sun. It is also our closest neighbor, which at 38 million miles away, probably doesn’t seem that close! However, it’d probably take us around four months to get there.
2. Venus is Earth’s sister planet.
3. It rotates backwards!
Something quite unique about Venus is its rotation. It rotates on its axis very slowly and in the opposite direction of most planets, which means it rotates clockwise or retrograde.
4. It’s one of the hottest planets in the solar system.
Venus’ famously thick, hot atmosphere boasts a surface temperature that reaches a blistering 900 degrees Fahrenheit, or 475 degrees Celsius! Oddly enough, while Mercury is closer to the Sun, Venus is hotter thanks to its dense atmosphere. At present, we have no hope of visiting Venus because the heat and atmospheric pressure would kill astronauts!
5. There is no liquid or water on the planet.
It may come as no surprise that due to its high surface temperature and atmospheric pressure, Venus cannot support liquid water. Water on the surface would simply immediately vaporize.
6. Venus’ pressure makes it pretty inhospitable, too.
Venus has a dense, carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere, which exerts a pressure about 92 times greater than Earth’s at sea level.
As a result, Venus will always be inhabitable for humans – and life as we know it. However, that’s not to say some kind of adapted life could evolve here.
7. It’s played host to volcanic activity.
Believe it or not, Venus has a history of volcanic activity! Its surface is covered with vast volcanic plains and thousands of volcanoes. However, most of them are dormant. Just as well, it’s pretty hot out here!
8. It is known as the bright Evening Star.
Venus is also referred to as the “Evening Star” when it appears in the western sky after sunset. It is one of the brightest objects in the night sky at this time – a pretty fitting name, then. You might not even need a telescope to see it.
9. Venus has no moons.
Venus is one of just two planets in our solar system that does not have any natural moons or satellites. The only other planet like this in our solar system is Mercury.
10. The weather on Venus is as extreme as its temperatures.
Venus experiences extreme weather conditions. For example, it commonly has high-speed winds in its upper atmosphere that can reach hurricane-like speeds.
11. A day on Venus is almost two thirds of a year on Earth.
Time passes much slower on Venus than it does on Earth, thanks to its slow rotation around the Sun. It takes Venus 243 Earth days to complete what would be a full day or rotation!
FAQs about Venus
Why is Venus referred to as a female planet?
While planets are not usually gendered, some do refer to Venus by the pronoun “she”. This is simply because Venus is the only planet to be named after a female god.
Is Venus going to hit Earth?
Generally speaking, the orbits of both Venus and the Earth are stable. There have been simulations showing the very low probability of collisions between the planets, but there is definitely nothing to worry about at the moment!
Why is Venus so special?
Aside from its incredible weather and temperature, Venus is also special due to its unique rotation. It is the only one to spin in the opposite direction of the Earth and other planets and takes a long time to travel around the Sun, at least compared to other planets.
Do you know any interesting facts about Venus? Share them in the comments below!