Moving in the right direction this time, away from the Sun our next major object in the solar system is Venus.
Venus is one of the four rocky planets in the solar system, it is the second planet away from the Sun and is the closest planet in size to the Earth. Venus has orbits the Sun once every 224 days and it rotates on it’s axis one every 243 days. The rotation period is the longest of any planet in the solar system and it rotates in the opposite direction of any other planet. Venus was named after the Roman God of love and beauty, this is perhaps becasue it is the second brightest natural object in the night sky (the brightest being the moon).
Facts about Venus
Venus, Earth size comparison (Image from Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Venus,_Earth_size_comparison.jpg)
Just like Mercury, Venus orbits the sun within the orbit of the Earth is tis only visible at either dawn or dusk. It’s also possible to see crescent phases on these planets (if viewing it through a powerful telescope) as you might see them on the moon.
Gustav Holst wrote a suite of classical music pieces on the planets. This was the piece that he wrote for Venus – the bringer of peace. As with all the pieces from Holst the music has a meaning back to the roots of the mythical God they’re named after. In this case as Venus is the God of love, love brings peace.
There hasn’t been a great deal going on with Venus of late. Various probes have been sent to Venus over the years. The Russians sent the Venera probes between 1964 and 1981 in order to gather data from Venus. Because of the thick atmosphere it had been speculated many years ago that Venus could harbour a rich, warm and paradise like ecosystem. The Venera probes quickly dispelled this, showing Venus to be a rocky world, the probes didn’t last long under the intense atmospheric pressure before being crushed.
More recently ESA had sent the Venus Express probe to find out more about the Planet. During it’s time the probe sent back data telling us that Venus is volcanically active and in it’s final plunge recorded average temperatures at the polles of -157°C, colder than anywhere on Earth!
This goes to show, that distance from the Sun isn’t necessarily a guide to planetary temperatures.
I hope you’re enjoying this series, as always I look forwar to any feedback.
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