|Diameter||12164 km, 0.95 x Earth's|
|Average Distance from Sun||108 x 106km = 0.723 AU|
|Colour||White cloud cover.
Surface is brown rock.
|Atmosphere||Carbon dioxide (96.5%)
Clouds: Sulphuric acid
|Length of Day||243 days|
|Length of Year||224.7 days|
|No. of Moons||None|
|Gravity||0.903 x Earth's|
Venus is the second planet in our Solar System and is the brightest object in the sky after the Sun and Moon. Like all planets, Venus is seen because it reflects light from the Sun. The planet looks so bright because it is covered in a thick layer of cloud which reflects over half of the light shining onto it. These clouds are made of sulphuric acid.
Venus also has a lot of volcanoes which are erupting most of the time. This throws even more poisonous sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere, making it deadly to humans.
The temperature on the surface of Venus is about 470 C, hot enough to melt lead. There is no water left on the planet because it has all boiled away, and is a lot of lightning seen all of the time.
The pressure on Venus is huge, enough to crush a human to death. The incredibly high pressures and temperatures mean that it is very difficult to land a spacecraft on the surface, and the atmosphere is also corrosive to metal. The Soviet spacecraft that landed on Venus lasted for only a few minutes before being destroyed.
The planet has been mapped by a spacecraft in orbit, showing that the surface is rocky with a lot of mountains. There are also some large, open flat areas. All of the features (such as mountains, canyons and volcanoes) on Venus are named after famous women except for the first one found, called Maxwell Mountain.
Venus spins the opposite way to the other planets. It also spins so slowly that a day on Venus lasts longer than a year.
Authors: Carolyn Brinkworth and Claire Thomas
Last updated: July 2001