Related topics: atmosphere · planets · mars · jupiter

Carnivorous plants: No escape for mosquitoes

Physically bound to a specific location, plants have to devise special ways to secure their supply of vital nutrients. Most plants have developed a root system to the nutrients they need in order to survive out of the soil. ...

New research takes deeper look at Venus's clouds

Venus is known for its clouds of sulfuric acid covering the entire planet and its super-fast winds moving at hundreds of kilometers per hour, but our neighboring planet's thick clouds make it difficult for scientists to peer ...

Spot failed Soviet Venus probe Kosmos 482 in Earth orbit

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Giant pattern discovered in the clouds of planet Venus

A Japanese research group has identified a giant streak structure among the clouds covering planet Venus based on observation from the spacecraft Akatsuki. The team also revealed the origins of this structure using large-scale ...

Five in a row—the planets align in the night sky

For the second time this year, the five brightest planets can be seen at the same time. You can catch them by looking towards the western sky after sunset. The planets will form a line rising up from the horizon.

New facility to simulate conditions on Venus

The German Space Agency (DLR) has opened a new simulation facility at its Planetary Spectroscopy Laboratory (PSL) in Berlin. The facility could help researchers better understand the surface of Venus hidden behind the planet's ...

NASA awards contract to study flying drones on Venus

In the coming decades, NASA and other space agencies hope to mount some ambitious missions to other planets in our Solar System. In addition to studying Mars and the outer Solar System in greater detail, NASA intends to send ...

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Venus

Venus is the second-closest planet to the Sun, orbiting it every 224.7 Earth days. The planet is named after Venus, the Roman goddess of love. After the Moon, it is the brightest natural object in the night sky, reaching an apparent magnitude of −4.6. Because Venus is an inferior planet from Earth, it never appears to venture far from the Sun: its elongation reaches a maximum of 47.8°. Venus reaches its maximum brightness shortly before sunrise or shortly after sunset, for which reason it is often called the Morning Star or the Evening Star.

Classified as a terrestrial planet, it is sometimes called Earth's "sister planet" because they are similar in size, gravity, and bulk composition. Venus is covered with an opaque layer of highly reflective clouds of sulfuric acid, preventing its surface from being seen from space in visible light. Venus has the densest atmosphere of all the terrestrial planets, consisting mostly of carbon dioxide, as it has no carbon cycle to lock carbon back into rocks and surface features, nor organic life to absorb it in biomass. A younger Venus is believed to have possessed Earth-like oceans, but these totally evaporated as the temperature rose, leaving a dusty dry desertscape with many slab-like rocks. The water has most likely dissociated, and, because of the lack of a planetary magnetic field, the hydrogen has been swept into interplanetary space by the solar wind. The atmospheric pressure at the planet's surface is 92 times that of the Earth.

Venus' surface was a subject of speculation until some of its secrets were revealed by planetary science in the twentieth century. It was finally mapped in detail by Project Magellan in 1990–91. The ground shows evidence of extensive volcanism, and the sulfur in the atmosphere may indicate that there have been some recent eruptions. However, it is an enigma why no evidence of lava flow accompanies any of the visible caldera. There are a low number of impact craters, demonstrating that the surface is relatively young, approximately half a billion years old. There is no evidence for plate tectonics, possibly because its crust is too strong to subduct without water to make it less viscous. Instead, Venus may lose its internal heat in periodic massive resurfacing events.

The adjective Venusian is commonly used for items related to Venus, though the Latin adjective is the rarely used Venerean; the archaic Cytherean is still occasionally encountered. Venus is the only planet in the Solar System named after a female figure,[a] although three dwarf planets – Ceres, Eris and Haumea – along with hundreds of the first discovered asteroids also have feminine names.

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