Venus: 10 Fun Facts About the Hottest Planet!
On June 30, 2015, Venus and Jupiter were close in western skies at dusk.
Our Sister Planet—and UFO?
For daily wit & wisdom, sign up for the Almanac newsletter.
Sister planet. Nearest neighbor. Goddess of love. How appealing the planet Venus sounds! But the strange cloudy world is actually a land of paradox and horror. Discover 10 weird facts about planet Venus, the hottest planet in our solar system!
10 Cool Facts About Hot Venus
Take the time to learn some 10 cool Venus facts about our very, very hot neighboring planet!
- Venus is Earth’s closest neighbor in the solar system! She’s the second planet from the Sun and sometimes called our “sister planet” since its diameter and density are nearly the same as ours.
- After the Sun and the Moon, Venus is the brightest object in sky sky. As the planet looks like a bright star in the morning or evening sky, it’s often called the “morning star” or “evening star.”
- Venus’ day is longer than its year. Venus spins on its axis in 243 Earth-days but orbits the Sun in 225 Earth-days.
- Venus’ creamy-white brilliance comes from sunlight bouncing off shiny clouds of sulfuric acid Because of this, Venus is deceivingly reflective as a mirror; fully 76 percent of the sunlight gets bounced away from the shiniest planet in our solar system. Beneath the clouds of concentrated acid droplets, Venus is eternally overcast.
- Venus brilliance is dazzling enough to cast shadows when seen from a dark place. Wait until the new Moon phase, when there will be no Moon to compete.
- We have learned that Venus’s surface is covered with craters, volcanoes, mountains, and big lava plains.
- Venus’s surface temperature never budges from about 850°F, day and night! Venus manages to have a hotter surface than even Mercury, which is the nearest plant to the Sun.
- The air is 100% carbon dioxide, trapping in the sun’s heat like a blanket. This was the original ‘greenhouse effect’ model long before that phrase’s current popularity.
- Venus’s atmosphere provides no oxygen whatsoever.
- The air is suffocatingly dense and would crush you. The planet’s air pressure remains stuck at 90 Earth-pressures, making it the most efficient pressure-cooker in this neck of the galaxy. This compressed air distorts everything into fun-house-mirror images.
Planet or UFO?
Did you know: Venus alone accounts for more than half of all UFO reports. And they don’t all come from dimwits. My two favorite Venus stories:
- Jimmy Carter, while Governor of Georgia, phoned the state police to report a UFO that proved to be Venus!
- And a squadron of allied bombers returning from a mission over Japan in World War 2 saw a brilliant light that appeared to keep pace with them. Firing their guns, they attempted, without success, to blow up the Evening Star. At our Overlook Observatory phone and during public radio call-in shows, when someone begins a sentence with “I’ve been seeing a star….” I obnoxiously interrupt them with: “Venus!”
Of course, no human being is likely to go to Venus. Ever. It’s touching that we named the most luminous “star” after the love goddess. She’ll melt you. Crush you. And she’s stinky. For all eternity, our nearest planet—that dazzling beacon in the western sky—will tantalize with a warning label: Look but don’t touch.
Get Almanac’s Daily Updates
BONUS: You’ll also receive our free Beginner Gardening Guide!