Venus. Image Credit: Mariner 10, Calvin J Hamilton
Venus: Venus is considered to be Earth’s sister planet because it has a very similar size and makeup compared to the Earth. For thousands of years, Venus has been tracked and even worshipped as a god of peace. This is no surprise though, because Venus is the brightest of planets in our sky and at times outshines all of the stars! Although seen as a god of peace, Venus is hardly a peaceful place. Venus is so bright because of its thick atmosphere and clouds. This thick atmosphere makes Venus the hottest planet in the solar system with surface temperatures averaging around 872 degrees Fahrenheit! These temperatures are hot enough to melt heavy materials such as lead! Venus wasn’t always like this, and may have even once had oceans of carbon dioxide! Extensive volcanic activity released many greenhouse gases and the oceans eventually boiled away, making the atmosphere even thicker. As a side note, these volcanoes are evidence of tectonic plate activity along with numerous fault lines on the planet’s surface. Since Venus is the second innermost planet, it typically stays close to the Sun and as a result is usually seen in the morning or evening. This has given Venus the title of the evening star and the morning star. You can’t view surface details on Venus but since it is closer to the sun than us, it does have phases like the moon. To see these phases you will need a small telescope. It might look like the moon but we assure you it’s not!

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