Venus is the second planet from the sun. It is next to Earth. At the farthest distance, Venus is approximately 162 million miles from Earth. However, at its closest, it is just a mere 24 million miles away from Earth.
Exploring Venus’s Orbit
Both Earth and Venus travel around the sun in ellipses. This is what causes the constant shift in their distance from each other. If you are looking at Earth days, it takes Venus about 224.7 days to get around the sun. So, about every 584 days, Earth and Venus are at their closest distance from each other.
The most circular orbit in space is found with Venus. This makes its average distance from the sun approximately 67 million miles. At its furthest, this is about 67.7 million miles and at its closest, about 66.7 million miles. It was Galileo who discovered that this planet orbited the sun and not Earth.
Fun Facts About Venus
The brightest planet in the sky is Venus and this is not because it is the closest to the sun. Mercury is the closest. The brightness is due to the cloudy and thick atmosphere that is present on Venus. This works to reflect the light better than other planets, especially Mercury where the atmosphere is mostly rocky. Even at its dimmest, Venus is often the brightest thing in the sky, even brighter than the stars.
It is easy to see why astronomers go into studying space. With varying distances between the planets and so many interesting things to learn, it is a field that is constantly evolving. While the distance between Venus and Earth is not likely to change any time soon, there are still other interesting things to learn about the second planet from the sun.
Venus is a type of terrestrial plant and it is located second from the sun behind Mercury. Compared to Earth, the mass, size and density of Venus is almost exactly the same. However, how does this planet differ when it comes to moons?
The Number of Moons on Venus
The solar system has dozens of moons, with the planets all having varying amounts. However, Venus, like Mercury, does not have any moons. These are the only two planets to not have any moons naturally orbiting them. Now, exactly why Venus does not have any moons is something that has kept scientists up at night for decades because there is no absolute answer,
How to Planets Get Moons?
This is an interesting question and scientists are still working on getting a concrete answer. However, they do have a few theories concerning this. It is believed by scientists that moons start to orbit planets for three reasons. The first is that a planet essentially captures a moon and pulls it into its orbit. The second is that a collision occurs and a moon is born as a result. The third theory is that an accretion of matter is responsible for the birth of a moon in the solar system.
Unfortunately, none of these theories can explain why Venus does not have a moon. Some believe that in the very distant past, this planet might have had a moon. This is because some scientists have stated that at some point in history, it is likely that a large rock collided with the planet at least twice, a situation that can result in a moon.
Hopefully, one day in the near future scientists will be able to unlock the mystery concerning why this planet does not have any moons.
Venus is next to Earth and the only planet between it and the sun is Mercury. Thinking about space travel is exciting, so many people want to know how long it would take them to get from Earth to another planet. Venus is next to Earth, but how close is it?
The Distance Between Earth and Venus
If you want to get a precise distance between the two planets on any given day, you would have to evaluate the orbits of each plant. There is a constant shift in the distance between the two planets due to the fact that they travel around the sun in ellipses. This means that they are following an elliptical orbit. However, you can look at the farthest distance to get an idea about how much space is in between the two planets. At the farthest point, the distance between Earth and Venus is approximately 162 million miles. Both planets can also get quite close at times, depending on where they are at in the orbit. They are about 24 to 25 million miles away from each other every 584 days.
Missions to Venus
There have been several missions to Venus using spacecrafts. The time it took each to arrive varied greatly. The shortest amount of time was in February of 1974. The Mariner 10 was launched in November of 1973, so it took about three months to arrive. The longest was in 1978. The Pioneer left in May and arrived in December.
Despite this planet being located next to Earth, there is still a rather great distance between the two and a trip there would not be feasible by human beings.
Venus is well-known for being a very gaseous planet, but many are not familiar with some of the other basic facts. For example, it is not common knowledge how long a year lasts on this planet compared to a year on earth. Learning a little more about the passage time gives you a deeper understanding of how Venus operates.
How Long is a Year on Venus?
Unlike most of the other planets in the solar system, Venus orbits in the direction opposite to the Earth’s rotation. While it rotates very slowly, time still passes quickly and a year on Venus is equal to approximately 225 days on Earth. What is especially interesting is that since it rotates at such a slow pace, a year and a day on Venus are almost identical. A single day on Venus is equal to approximately 243 days on Earth, so the days on this planet are slightly longer than an entire Venus year.
Breaking Down a Year on Venus
Venus has four seasons, but the change is so minimal that they are not noticeable like they are on Earth. This is due to several factors, including the slight axial tilt, eccentric orbit and atmospheric nature. These two planets also differ in how the sun sets and rises on each planet. On Earth, the sun sets at night and rises each morning. However, on Venus, the sun only rises every 117 Earth days. So, during an entire year on this planet, the sun will only rise two times and it will do this on the same exact day. Due to the retrograde rotation of Venus, the sun will set in the east and rise in the west.
Now you know more about the timeline you would live by if you ever lived on Venus. This gives you a basic understanding and helps to enhance your overall knowledge of space.
NASA and the Russian Space Program are working on a joint mission to Venus to investigate some of the planet’s biggest mysteries.
The mission is known as ‘Venera-D’ and it’s currently wrapping up it’s plan for submission to NASA and the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Space Research Institute. The final report is expected by the end of this month.
The Venera-D mission is led by Russia. The team has been working on the project for over ten years inlcuding early versions of the initiative from 1960 – 1990; the Venera and Vega programs.
Russia has had a historic interest in Venus, but NASA has just recently gotten involved. The Russian annex of Crimea in 2014 caused the program to stall as NASA suspended communication with Roscosmos in the time, however the two countries began to collaborate once more in 2015.
Venera-D is aiming to be a pillar of Roscosmos success. Similar to NASA’s Mars Rovers, the Venera concept details the need for an orbiter that will study Venus for at least three years, and a lander that will operate on the planet’s surface.
Unfortunately the Venera lander will only last for roughly 30 days. Given the intense heat on Venus and the technical problems this can cause, the mission would be too costly to prolong the landers life any longer. Data collected by the rover will help scientists understand the composition of the super-hot planet.
Venus as we know it is too hot to support life. However temperatures remain optimal in it’s upper atmosphere (30 miles or 50 kilometers up). It’s believed that microbial life could live at these altitudes. A recent find detailing dark streaks in Venusian clouds have begun to cause a stir in the astronomical community.
Using Japan’s Akatsuki spacecraft, scientists from Rikkyo University in Tokyo have found a large structure in Venus’ atmosphere.
Published in Nature Geoscience, researchers describe a stationary wave spreading across a large region of 10,000 kilometers or 6,200 miles. Located in the upper atmosphere of Venus, the cloud reportedly did not move for a few days rather it remained motionless above a mountains region of the planet.
The structure was located using images from Akatsuki that we taken between December 7 and 11, 2015.
Right now, the composition of this wave is undefined. It’s possible it was a wave produced by air flowing over a mountain plain, producing a hot-cool flow where air tries to balance itself out – similar to what we see on Earth. This is known as a gravity wave.
Dr. Makoto Taguchi from Rikkyo University in Japan goes on to detail the find in a call with IFLscience:
“This is the first evidence of gravity wave propagation from the lower atmosphere to the middle atmosphere [of Venus].There may exist a mechanism of gravity wave generation like a mountain wave or a thermal tide, which are found in the terrestrial atmosphere,” he said. “To answer this question we need more data that covers all local times and longitudes.”
Venus’s atmosphere is too thick for our technology to penetrate it’s upper atmosphere, which means this structure will remain a mystery, for now. We can see through to the surface using Infrared, but no such views were pointed towards this structure in the given time frame.
Over the next few years results are expected to come from the Akatsuki probe detailing weather on the planet, and surface level details such as volcanoes.