What Is Venus?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 12,625
    Science expert Emerald Robinson explains basic facts about the second closest planet to the sun, Venus.

    Emerald Robinson: Hi! I'm Emerald Robinson. In this "What Is" video we'll discover the real beauty of the planet Venus.

    Venus is the second planet from the sun, and the only planet named after a female the Roman goddess of love and beauty. Aside from the sun and the moon it is the brightest object in our sky and can be viewed from earth as both a morning and evening star. Because it's the closest planet to earth and similar in size Venus is considered our sister planet, its gravity is similar as well. A 100 pound person on earth would weigh only 90 pounds on Venus. Like the other inner planets Venus is dense and rocky. Its surface is covered by smooth volcanic plains and it has relatively few impact craters, indicating that the surface is geologically young. It's believed the plant experienced a global resurfacing event between 300 and 600 million years ago. Like its neighbor Mercury, Venus has no moons. The atmosphere on Venus is 92 times denser than earth, and consist mainly a carbon dioxide and a smaller amount of nitrogen, mixed with the sulfuric emissions from Venus as volcanoes. This creates two layers at dense sulfuric acid clouds that float above the surface of the planet. There appears to be no oxygen or water on Venus.

    Although all planet's orbits are elliptical, Venus's orbit is the most nearly circular. The time it takes the Venus to orbit the sun is 225 earth days. Venus also rotates on its axis very slowly. A single day on Venus takes 243 earth days. It's also one of only two planets along with the Uranus that rotate clock-wise, that means if you were on Venus the sun would rise in the west and set in the east.

    Although, Mercury is closer to the sun Venus is the hottest planet in the solar system. Its intense atmosphere traps heat; leading to temperature that can lead to nearly 900 degrees Fahrenheit.

    In 1962, NASA's Mariner 2 made Venus the first planet to be observed by a passing spacecraft. Since then she's been slowly revealing her secrets to a study stream of investigative missions.