Venus: A Brief Overview

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech -

Venus is the second planet from the Sun and our closest planetary neighbor. Similar in structure and size to Earth, Venus spins slowly in the opposite direction from most planets. Its thick atmosphere traps heat in a runaway greenhouse effect, making it the hottest planet in our solar system with surface temperatures hot enough to melt lead. Glimpses below the clouds reveal volcanoes and deformed mountains. The planet is named for the ancient Roman goddess of love and beauty, who was known as Aphrodite to the Ancient Greeks.

Size3,760 miles
Distance To The Sun67 million miles, or .7 AU
Length of A Day243 Earth days
Length Of A Year225 Earth days
Temperature (Lows and Highs)Lows: 800°F
Highs: 900°F
Number Of Moons0
Number Of Rings0
Missions To The Planet26 successful
AtmosphereMade up almost completely of carbon dioxide. It also includes small doses of nitrogen and clouds of sulfuric acid.
Size Compared To EarthSlightly smaller than Earth
Discoverer And Discovery DateKnown By Ancients
Planet TypeTerrestrial

Venus is the 2nd brightest natural object in the night sky, with the brightest natural object being the Moon. Being so bright, Venus can cast shadows and can be, on rare occasion, visible to the naked eye in broad daylight.


Venus does not have any moons. It is likely this way because any moon with an orbit too great a distance from Venus would be in an unstable orbit and be captured by the Sun. If moons were too close to these planets they would be destroyed by tidal gravitational forces.

Fun Facts:
  • Being closer than Mars to Earth, Venus has been suggested as a potential option for colonization, albeit with cloud cities, rather than landing on the surface.
  • It has the densest atmosphere of the four terrestrial planets, consisting of more than 96% carbon dioxide. The atmospheric pressure at the planet’s surface is 92 times that of Earth, or roughly the pressure found 3,000 feet underwater on Earth.
  • Venus has by far the hottest surface of any planet in the Solar System,

Check out the Planetary Bodies Category for previous and upcoming articles on the solar system planets. Continue to check in for articles surrounding observing and missions to the planet Venus!


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