In mythology, Venus was the Roman equivalent of Aphrodite, the Greek Goddess of beauty and love. Venus, the planet of the same name, was named after her. However, the plate was probably named Venus also because it is the brightest object in the sky, apart from the Moon and the Sun, which is a fact in itself. Since the planet was named after a Goddess, Venus is regarded as a feminine planet. Even the astronomical symbol of the planet is the same as the biological symbol for the female gender. Apart from these common and generally known facts, there are many other things about Venus that many of us do not know.
Fact 1: Venus is practically a twin of the Earth
It is true; Venus is quite identical to the Earth in many aspects. Both Venus and Earth have a very similar mass and size. Similarly, the orbits in which the planets orbit around the sun are also very similar. Venus has a 650 km less diameter than the diameter of the Earth and it has an 81.5% greater mass than that of the Earth. However, this does not mean that human beings could inhibit Venus just like the Earth because there is 96.5% carbon dioxide in Venus’s atmosphere and the temperatures go up to 461 C due to a runaway greenhouse effect. Anyone who tried to walk on the planet’s surface would get crushed by the intense pressure.
Fact #2: Venus casts shadows because of its brightness
The brightness of objects in the night sky is measured by astronomers by their magnitude. The only objects in the night sky brighter than Venus are the Moon and the Sun. Venus is always brighter than even the brightest starts with a brightness that ranges between a magnitude of -3.8 and -4.6. As a result, shadows are casted by the planet, which can be noticed during a dark, moonless night.
Fact #3: Unlike other planets Venus rotates clockwise
The rotation of Venus is very slow. While Earth takes merely 24 hours to complete a rotation, it takes 243 Earth days for Venus to do the same. A fact that is even more interesting is that unlike the rest of the planets in the solar system, Venus rotates in the clockwise direction. All the other planets rotate in a counterclockwise direction, which could be seen if it was possible to look down from above the Solar System.
Fact #4: Venus has been home to many probes
It might seem that landing something on the surface of Venus would be impossible and that is partly true. A series Venera spacecraft was launched by the Soviet Union during the height of the space race to try to land them on the planet’s surface. However, the atmosphere of the planet was apparently underestimated by the Soviets. The atmosphere of Venus crushed the early spacecraft while they were passing down. However, the Venera 8 finally managed to land on the surface of Venus, making it the first probe to land on the planet, and pictures of Venus were then sent back to Earth. Many more probes have successfully landed on the surface of Venus ever since, lasting much longer, and even color images of the planet’s surface have been sent to the Earth.
Fact #5: It was believed that Venus was tropical
It was never really known what lied under the thick clouds on Venus until the first spacecraft were sent by the Americans and Soviets to capture up close pictures of the planet. Thanks to science fiction, everyone started believing that there were lush tropical jungles on the planet; however, everyone was surprised by the dense atmospheres and hellish temperatures.
Fact #6: There are no moons on Venus
Venus may be quite similar to the Earth, but unlike the Earth and many other planets that have moons, such as Mars and Pluto, Venus does not have any moons.
Fact #7: Venus has an almost flawless surface
While impact craters have pounded the surface of Mars, Mercury and the Moon, there are barely any craters on the surface of Venus. According to planetary scientists, the surface of Venus is no more than approximately a billion years old. The surface of Venus is constantly reshaped by volcanism; as a result any impact craters are automatically and regularly covered.
Venus is indeed a very distinct and interesting planet. There are probably many other countless known facts about the planet that could have been mentioned and perhaps even more that are not yet known to man.