The second planet from the sun in our solar system. Venus is one of the terrestrial planets and forms part of the inner solar system. It is only slightly smaller than the Earth.

Venus has a very thick atmosphere. The atmosphere is so dense that Venus is perpetually covered by clouds. Hence, the surface is permanently shielded from direct view. The clouds can only be penetrated by radio waves. The atmosphere of Venus is almost entirely composed of carbon dioxide and this causes the planet to retain all of the heat that it receives from the Sun. This intense greenhouse effect means that the surface of the planet is at the incredibly high temperature of 450K. In the higher layers of the planet's atmosphere, carbon dioxide is changed by the Sun's electromagnetic radiation. It is caused to react with the small amounts of sulphur and water present until it form droplets of dilute sulphuric acid. These droplets then condense and fall as rain onto the planet.

The surface of Venus shows definite evidence of past volcanic activity but it is uncertain as to whether this volcanic activity is still taking place or not.

Venus has no natural satellites.

Venus rotates about its axis in a clockwise or retrograde direction, compared with most other Solar System bodies which have anti-clockwise orbits.

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Equatorial diameter 12103000 mClip
Average Density 5250 kgm-3Clip
Axial tilt 2 degreesClip
Rotational period 243.01 hoursClip
Average surface temperature 464 CClip
Maximum apparent magnitude -4.4 Clip
Aphelion 109000000000 mClip
Perihelion 107400000000 mClip
Orbital tilt 3.39 degreesClip
Orbital period 224.7d y=Earth year, d=Earth dayClip
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See also: Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, Neptune, Pluto, Saturn, Solar System, Sun, Uranus.

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Subjects: Physics

NASA Photographic Library Photographs from NASA available for viewing and download.
The Nine Planets A Multimedia Tour of the Solar System: one star, eight planets, and more.