Venus - the morning & evening star

General Information

Average distance from the Sun

108 million km
(67 million miles)



Orbiting Speed

22 Miles / second


85 pond kid would weigh
77 pond

Length of year

225 Earth days

Length of solar day

584 Earth days

Rotation period relative to stars

243 Earth days

Diameter at equator

12,100 km
(7,500 miles)

Approximate surface temperatures

440 - 480 0C
(800 - 900 0F)

Venus is only slightly smaller than Earth and comes nearer to us than any other planet. At its closest it is about 42 million km away. More space probes have been sent to Venus than to any other planet, because it is so close.

Venus is shrouded by a dense blanket of poisonous gases. Clouds of sulphuric acid prevent us from seeing the surface of the planet through telescopes, but space probes have used radar to map the planet surface revealing mountains and highland areas surrounded by large, flat deserts of broken and eroded rocks.

The gas clouds reflect sunlight so well, Venus appears in our sky as a brilliant object; only the Sun and Moon are brighter. Because Venus lies between the Earth and the Sun, like Mercury it is always seen fairly close to the Sun in our sky. Depending on whether it is visible just before sunrise or just after sunset, it is sometimes described as the 'morning star', or the 'evening star'.

Astronomers think Venus has a core containing iron, but the details of what it might be like are not known. The core is surrounded by a rocky mantle. The atmosphere of Venus consists of carbon dioxide gas containing clouds of sulphuric acid. The atmosphere is about 250 km deep, but most of the gas is concentrated in the lowest 28 km. The surface temperature reaches 480 0C and never falls below 430 0C.