Seen from Earth shining brightly in the west at sunset, Venus is called the evening star. It is a rocky planet, and the second-closest planet to the Sun.
Table 6. VENUS DATA
|Diameter (width) at equator||7,521 miles (12,104 km)|
|Average distance from Sun||67.2 million miles (108.2 million km)|
|Time to orbit Sun||224.7 days|
|Time to spin around own axis||243 days|
|Mass||0.82 x Earth’s mass|
|Gravity||0.9 x Earth’s gravity|
|Average surface temperature||867°F (464°C)|
|Number of moons||0|
Thick clouds in Venus’s atmosphere stop us from seeing the surface. Radar probes, such as Magellan, can peer through the clouds, revealing a planet dotted with volcanoes and covered with rolling lava plains.
Temperatures on Venus soar to over 860°F (460°C), making it hotter than any other planet. Its carbon dioxide atmosphere, which is 100 times heavier than Earth’s, traps heat like a greenhouse.