VENUS is named after a goddess of beauty, the reality of this planet is far from its name. Venus is a very unpleasant place, with winds that blow constantly at hundreds of miles per hour and extremely high temperatures. This planet is an example of a runaway greenhouse effect on a planetary scale. 
At first glance, if Earth had a twin, it would be Venus. The two planets are similar in size, mass, composition, and distance from the Sun. But there the similarities end. Venus has no ocean. Venus is covered by thick, rapidly spinning clouds that trap surface heat, creating a scorched greenhouse-like world with temperatures hot enough to melt lead and pressure so intense that standing on Venus would feel like the pressure felt 900 meters deep in Earth's oceans. These clouds reflect sunlight in addition to trapping heat. Because Venus reflects so much sunlight, it is usually the brightest planet in the sky.

Venus is the second planet from the Sun, located in between Mercury and Earth. The orbit, or path, Venus follows around the Sun is nearly circular, so the planet's distance from the Sun averages about 65 million miles. Being closer to the Sun, a Venusian year, the time it takes for it to complete a trip around the Sun, is just 225 days. Venus spins more slowly than Earth, though, so a day on Venus,
 the time it takes for the planet to turn once, is 243 days, which means that a day on Venus is longer than it's year! Even more strange is the fact that Venus rotates from East to West, which is just the opposite of Earth and most of the other planets. 

 Can I See It?
      Yes, you can see Venus for several months each year, either in the morning or evening sky, and you don't need a telescope. Venus is called both the morning and evening star, and ancient astronomers thought it was two different objects. When it is  visible, Venus is the second-brightest object in the sky, being outshone only by the Moon. You would never guess that something that is so beautiful could be so unpleasant in reality . Since Venus is closer to the Sun  than we are here on Earth, you could see the planet going through phases like our Moon does if you have a telescope.   Be sure to check to sky maps here at Astronomy for Kids. If Venus is going to be visible during a month, we will tell you where
      and when to see it. 

 How Big Is It?
      Venus is almost the same size as Earth, with a diameter of a little over 7200 miles. This is, thankfully, the only way that Venus is similar to Earth. 

 How Did It Get Its Name?
      Venus was named for the goddess of love and beauty. This is definitely a case of beauty being only skin deep, as Venus is a very unpleasant place, with winds that blow hundreds of miles an hour, and temperatures that are hot enough to melt most metals! 

 What Is It Made Of?
      Venus is one of the solar system's rocky planets, along with Earth and Mercury. The planet has an iron core, which is covered  by a rocky layer. This rocky layer has a lot of lava, which has been generated by the many volcanoes on its surface. 

 What's It Like on The Surface?
      To put it mildly, Venus is an extremely unpleasant place. The bright white light that we see from Earth is a result of sunlight being reflected off the clouds that completely cover the planets surface. These clouds are made of sulfuric acid, which is an extremely dangerous substance. When you get to the planet's surface, things get even worse. The temperature on Venus averages  around 900 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to melt lead! That's not all, the clouds on Venus have created at atmosphere
      that is the same as being half a mile underwater here on Earth. The air pressure would be enough to crush some submarines. Finally the winds on Venus are almost always faster than a tornado, averaging around 240 miles per hour! The few spacecraft that have managed to land on Venus have lasted less than an hour before the heat and air pressure have  melted and crushed them.
      For this reason, a lot of what we know about the surface of Venus has come from spacecraft that have studied the planet from a safe distance. We have also been able to map some of the planet's surface using radar telescopes here on Earth. What we have  found is that Venus has a surface that has many mountains (some higher than Mount Everest), volcanoes and plains filled with lava.

Venus Planet Video


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