Diameter: 12,104 km
Mass: 0.902 Earths
Atmosphere: Dense: carbon dioxide
Surface Temperature: 460 °C
Year length: 224.7 Earth days
Day length: 243 Earth days
- Venus is covered in thick clouds of sulphuric acid which prevent the surface being seen by eye.
- It is the second brightest object in the night sky, after the Moon, and reaches maximum brightness shortly before and after sunrise and sunset, respectively. This has given it the nickname “morning” or “evening star”.
- Venus’ atmosphere is mainly carbon dioxide, with the greenhouse effect pushing surface temperatures to almost 500 °C.
- Venus rotates in a “retrograde” clockwise fashion, opposite to that of the Sun.
- Named after the Roman goddess of beauty, Venus, the planet was known by the Babylonians as early as 1581 BC, who understood that the “morning” and “evening star” where in fact the same object.
- When Mariner 2 successfully passed Venus in 1962 it became the first planet to be explored by a space probe. In 1967, Venera 4 successfully landed on Venus’ surface, two years before the first manned lunar mission.