VENUS is one of our closest neighbours – but it’s very unlike Earth.
In fact, you’d be instantly killed if you ever set foot on the planet. Here’s some of the key info you need to know.
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Venus is a hellish planet with scorching surface temperatures and a deadly atmosphere[/caption]
What colour is Venus?
Venus is lots of different colours, depending on how you’re looking at it.
From Earth – to the unaided eye – Venus looks like an extremely bright star.
In fact, it probably appears like the brightest star in the sky on a clear night.
And you’ll typically see it before other stars begin to appear at night – if it’s within view.
Venus typically looks a yellowish white to the human eye[/caption]
Venus itself is surrounding by a thick atmosphere.
These are dense clouds of sulphuric acid that make the planet highly hostile to life.
And you’ll see this from the outside as a bright yellow or white colouring.
On the surface, meanwhile, you’d expect to see a reddish brown layer of rock and dust.
We’ve also taken lots of photos of Venus capturing different wavelengths of light, and to different levels of detail.
So you might sometimes see Venus photographed in a different colour, or with highly detailed cloud layers.
But these won’t reflect what you’d see with the naked eye – if you were close enough to see Venus as more than a star.
We’ll also get a better idea of Venus generally in the coming years and decades, as space agencies explore the planet using more (and better) technology.
Nasa wants future missions to explore Venus in more detail[/caption]
Other Venus planet facts
Venus is the second planet from the Sun, only behind Mercury.
It’s named after a Roman goddess, and is commonly seen from Earth.
The planet is a similar size and mass to Earth, but it varies in many other ways.
Each Venus year lasts 224.7 Earth days – that’s a single orbit of the Sun.
On Earth, a single full rotation takes 24 hours, which is a day.
But Venus spins very slowly, so each day on Venus lasts 116.75 Earth days.
That sort of day is called a “sidereal” day – a single spin.
But the time it takes for the Sun to get back to the same place in the sky – a “solar” day – is even longer.
Each solar day on Venus lasts 243.025 Earth days.
Venus also rotates clockwise, opposite to the anticlockwise direction of other planets in our Solar System.
That means if you were on the Venusian surface, you’d see the sun rise in the west and set in the east.
Venus also has the hottest surface of any planet in the Solar System – despite being further from the Sun than Mercury.
The average surface temperature is a truly horrifying 464C / 867F.
Pair that with a cloud layer of sulphuric acid and it’s about as hellish as you can imagine.
Scientists think liquid oceans may have once existed on Venus, but they are long gone due to the sweltering temperatures.
Exploring Venus is difficult due to the less-than-favourable conditions on the planet.
The Magellan orbiter’s visit to Venus in 1991 was illuminating, helping to map the planet.
And Nasa is mulling plans to revisit Venus in the future.
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