All About Venus

a cartoon of Venus smiling saying, Is it hot out here, or is it just me?

What is Venus like?

Even though Venus isn't the closest planet to the sun, it is still the hottest. It has a thick atmosphere full of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide and clouds made of sulfuric acid. The gas traps heat and keeps Venus toasty warm. In fact, it's so hot on Venus, metals like lead would be puddles of melted liquid.

Venus looks like a very active planet. It has mountains and volcanoes. Venus is similar in size to Earth. Earth is just a little bit bigger.

Venus is unusual because it spins the opposite direction of Earth and most other planets. And its rotation is very slow. It takes about 243 Earth days to spin around just once. Because it's so close to the sun, a year goes by fast. It takes 225 Earth days for Venus to go all the way around the sun. That means that a day on Venus is a little longer than a year on Venus.

Since the day and year lengths are similar, one day on Venus is not like a day on Earth. Here, the sun rises and sets once each day. But on Venus, the sun rises every 117 Earth days. That means the sun rises two times during each year on Venus, even though it is still the same day on Venus! And because Venus rotates backwards, the sun rises in the west and sets in the east.

Just like Mercury, Venus doesn’t have any moons.


Venus' Merit Badges

Click the planet badges to learn more about Venus:


a merit badge with orange wavy heat lines
a merit badge that shows a planet with a rocky surface
a merit badge with an orange planet and a thick blue band above it
a merit badge with a planet and an arrow encircling it, showing rotation
a merit badge with a sun and an arrow encircling it, showing revolution around the sun
a merit badge with an ancient symbol
a merit badge that shows an orange planet horizon with no moon in the sky
a merit badge with a horizontal arrow showing clockwise rotation
a merit badge with a volcano spewing lava
a merit badge with a simplified spacecraft made of a square and two rectangles

See all the planet badges.


What does Venus look like?

a photo of Venus' swirling atmosphere of reddish brown clouds.

Here you can see the clouds covering Venus.

A false color photo of Venus that uses blues, greens, yellows, and reds to show differences in the surface such as craters and mountains.

This is a combination of images taken by the Magellan spacecraft. The colors have been altered so you can see all the differences in Venus's surface. Magellan used radar to get information about the surface of Venus, which we can't normally see because of the thick, cloudy atmosphere.

a photo of a large crater and lots of white cracks in the surface

A crater on the surface of Venus. It's 45 miles (72 km) wide.


For more information visit solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/venus.

article last updated September 29, 2016

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