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The Planet Venus, Research Paper Example

Pages: 2

Words: 564

Research Paper

Within our Solar System which is composed of nine planets (with the possible exception of Pluto), the planet Venus is second from the Sun which it orbits in an almost perfect circle as contrasted with the Earth. Technically, Venus lies about 67,000,000 miles from the Sun (108,200,000 kilometers or 0.72 astronomical units); its diameter is about 12,103.6 kilometers or close to the diameter of the Earth which astronomers consider as Venus’ “sister planet” (“Venus.”

Venus is named after the Greek goddess Aphrodite (Venus itself being of Roman origin), due to being the brightest planet in the sky to ancient astronomers. Also, much like the Moon, Venus when viewed through a telescope, shows phases like half-moon, quarter-moon, and full moon. This phenomenon is due to the fact that Venus lies between the orbits of the Earth and the planet Mercury. As to its rotation, it takes approximately 243 Earth days for Venus to make one rotation (i.e., rotating on its axis); also, “the periods of Venus’ rotation and of its orbit are synchronized,” meaning that it “always presents the same face toward Earth when the two planets are at their closest approach” (“Venus”). However, unlike other planets in our Solar System, Venus rotates backwards which means that “on Venus, the Sun rises in the west and sets in the east” (“The Planet Venus”).

There are several interesting similarities between the planet Venus and the Earth. For example, Venus is slightly smaller than the Earth by some 5% in relation to diameter or from one edge to the other; also, the mass of Venus is only 20% less than that of the Earth. In addition, both the Earth and Venus have few visible craters caused by asteroid impacts which indicates that the surfaces of both planets are geologically active; also, the chemical compositions of both the Earth and Venus are quite similar with igneous rocks like granite and basalt being predominant (“Venus”).

One of the biggest differences between the planet Venus and the Earth is related to its atmosphere which at the surface exerts 90 atmospheres of pressure. What this means is that the pressure is equal to 14.7 pounds per square inch on Earth times 90 or the same amount of pressure a person would experience more than a mile under the ocean, being 5,280 feet. Venus is perhaps most famous for its runaway Greenhouse Effect, due to its atmosphere being composed of mostly carbon dioxide or CO2. Within the clouds of Venus, there is also a high concentration of sulfuric acid. Therefore, because of the CO2 and the sulfuric acid, the surface temperature of Venus is over 740 degrees K (Kelvin) which makes it about 800 degrees F. or hot enough to melt lead (“Venus”).

These and other facts about the planet Venus has been made possible by a number of exploratory missions to the planet. The first was Mariner 2 in 1962 which was followed by twenty other missions, such as Pioneer Venus and the Soviet-launched Venera 7 and Venera 9 which sent the first clear photographs of Venus’ surface. The first orbiter was the American spacecraft Magellan which produced the first detailed pictures of Venus. The most recent exploratory spacecraft is Venus Express, launched by the European Space Agency in 2013 (“Venus”).

Works Cited

“The Planet Venus.” NASA. 9 April 2009. Web. 20 March 2014.

“Venus.” Nine Planets–A Guide to Our Solar System and Beyond. 2013. Web. 20 March, 2014.

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