Venus: 10 shocking facts about our nearest planet you never knew

1. A day on Venus is longer than its year.

It takes 243 Earth days to rotate once – the longest rotation of any planet in the Solar System – and only 224.7 Earth days to complete one orbit of the Sun.

2. Venus is hotter than Mercury despite being further away from the Sun.

Its mean temperature is 462°C. This is because of the high concentration of carbon dioxide in Venus’ atmosphere, which works to produce an intense greenhouse effect.

3. Venus rotates in the opposite direction to most other planets.

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One possible reason for this might be a collision with an asteroid or other object.

4. Venus is the second brightest object in the night sky.

Only the Moon is brighter. Venus is so bright it can be seen during the daytime on a clear day.

5. Venus is often called the Earth’s sister planet.

Of all the solar system’s planets, Venus is the closest to a twin of Earth, with a similar size, orbit, and composition.

6. Venus is also known as the Morning Star and the Evening Star. 

Early civilizations thought Venus was two different bodies. These were called Phosphorus and Hesperus by the Greeks, and Lucifer and Vesper by the Romans. This is because it was visible both before and after sunrise.

7. Venus is named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty. 

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This may be, in part, due to the brightness of the planet and may date back to the Babylonians in 1581 who referred to Venus as “bright queen of the sky.” Venus is the only planet in the Solar System to be named after a female figure.

8. There are more volcanoes on Venus than on any other planet in the solar system.

Image: NASA

Astronomers know of more than 1,600 volcanoes on its surface, but there are likely many more too small for us to see. Scientists believe most of them are active.

9. Venus has 90 times the atmospheric pressure of Earth.

That’s about the same as the pressure at a depth of 1 km in Earth’s oceans.

10. It is the most “visited” planet of the solar system.

Over 40 spacecraft’s explored it until now. Yet no human-made object has survived on Venus for more than 127 minutes.

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