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VENUS

Venus is the second planet from the Sun, and rotates in the opposite direction to most planets.  If you could stand on the surface, and if you could see through the thick cloudy atmosphere, you would observe the Sun rise in the West and set in the East.  Also, it rotates so slowly on its axis, that its day lasts longer than its year.


The Russian Space Agency Roscosmos during the 1970s and 1980s sent probes to the surface of Venus.  Photographs from the surface were beamed back to Earth, prior to the probes being crushed and melted by the inhospitable atmosphere.

Image showing a portion of the Venera 14 lander on the surface of Venus.  The image also shows a part of the sky with its thick and suffocating sulphuric acid clouds.


Image credit: Venera 14, Roscosmos.

Venus Facts

Diameter: 12,104 kilometres, or 7,520 miles

Closest approach to the Sun (Perihelion): 107,480,000 kilometres (107 million, 480 thousand kilometres), or 66,780,000 miles (66 million, 780 thousand miles)

Furthest distance from the Sun: 108,940,000 kilometres (108 million, 940 thousand kilometres), or 67,690,000 miles (67 million, 690 thousand miles)

Rotation period (day): 243 Earth days

Orbital period (year): 224.695 Earth days

Average surface temperature: 470 degrees Celsius (880 degrees Fahrenheit)

Moons: 0


Venus as seen through a telescope from Earth.  Both Mercury and Venus go through phases much like the Moon does.  Here Venus is seen as a hazy crescent.


Image credit: Marc Lecleire.