transit of venus - introduction
Edmond Halley quote
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What is . . venus ?

The Transit of Venus    The Sun     Venus 


Named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty, Venus is the brightest object in the sky after the Sun and the Moon. Seen by the naked eye, it has been called the morning or evening star even though it is planet! Some Venus statistics are :

Diameter: 12100 km
Mass: 4.6 x 1024 kg
Distance from the Sun: 108 million km (second planet from Sun)

Venus has been referred to as Earth’s sister planet due to their similar masses, sizes and chemical composition. However, in many other ways, Venus is quite unique. For example, since Venus takes 225 days to go around the Sun on a nearly circular orbit, but takes 243 days to rotate on its axis, a day on Venus is longer than a year!

Many dedicated spacecraft have visited Venus with the NASA Magellan mission producing some of the most spectacular images.

(see figure 1)

The thick sulphuric acid atmosphere of Venus contains a large amount of carbon dioxide, which traps heat in the same way as the infamous greenhouse effect here on Earth. As a result, the surface of Venus is a very hot 450 degrees °.

(see figure 2)

The majority of the surface of the planet is in the form of large, flat plains such as the Lavinia Planitia shown above. Three large impact craters can also be seen - there are no small craters on the planet probably becausef smaller meteorites burn up through the atmosphere before hitting the surface.

(see figure 3)

Although for the most part geologically dormant, there are some volcanic regions on Venus such as Maat Mons displayed above. Eight km high, it is named after the Egyptian goddess of truth and justice.




picture of venus
figure 1

surface of venus
figure 2

venus volcanoe
figure 3