How far is Venus from Earth

How Far is Venus from Earth? Facts About Venus

In this article we are going to answer the question, how far is Venus from Earth? Venus is 162 million miles (261 million kilometers) away from Earth when it is at its farthest and 24 million miles (38 million kilometers) when it is at its closest.

How far is Venus from the Sun?

The Venusian orbit is 67.2 million miles (108.2 million kilometers) from the sun on average; equivalent to 0.7 astronomical units (one AU is the distance between the Earth and the Sun). However, due to the elliptical (oval) nature of its orbit, the distance between the planet and the sun varies. Even though it is oval, the Venusian orbit is nearly a perfect circle.

When it is at its farthest, it is 67.7 million miles (109 million kilometers) from the sun. When it is at its closest, it is 66.8 million miles (107.5 million kilometers) from the sun.

Venus takes 225 Earth days to orbit the sun. The earth takes 365 and a quarter days in comparison.

How long does it take light to travel to Venus?

Sunlight reaches Venus in 5 minutes and 46 seconds. Light from Venus takes 134 seconds (around 2 minutes) to reach us here on Earth.

What are the diameter and circumference of Venus?

Venus is almost the same size as Earth (Earth slightly bigger).

Venus: 7,520 miles (12,102 kilometers) diameter and 23,628 miles (38,025 kilometers) circumference.
Earth: 7,918 miles (12,742 kilometers) diameter and 24,901 miles (40,074 kilometers) circumference.

How long would it take to travel to Venus?

When traveling to another planet, we don’t just make a beeline for it, we have to rely on gravity boosts from other planets and/or moons to conserve fuel.

The Mariner 2 (NASA) took less than four months to reach the planet. Venera 7 (Soviet) landed on Venus after a journey that took more than four months.

What would you find when you get to Venus?

Although it has a grey surface, it is orange-ish in color because of its thick atmosphere. Venus is the brightest of the observable planets from Earth because its clouds are excellent at reflecting sunlight. Ancient astronomers thought it was one of two bright bodies that were seen at sunrise and at sunset.

Venus has a core comprised of iron, a mantle of molten rock, and a crust that is predominantly Basalt.

The Atmosphere:

The atmosphere of Venus consists of 96.5% Carbon Dioxide, 3.5% Nitrogen, and tiny amounts of water, Helium, Carbon Monoxide, Neon, Sulfur Dioxide, and Argon.

The clouds are made up of sulfuric acid. This atmosphere is the heaviest of any planet in our solar system. It renders “air” pressure that is 90 times greater than what we have on Earth.

Astronomers postulate that a long time ago, the conditions on the planet may have been more hospitable than they are right now. They think that blasts of solar winds must have stripped off the “good” atmosphere and created the deathly environment we witness today.

This was only possible because the planet doesn’t have a magnetic field to protect its atmosphere from intense radiation as Earth does.

The Seasons:

Venus rotates on its axis every 243 days (Earth days). This is very slow; in fact, compared to other major planets, it is the slowest. It even completes a full revolution around the sun before it finishes one spin (225 Days).

The odd thing about Venusian rotation is that the sun rises every 117 Earth days (rather than as you would expect, 243 days) because it spins in a direction opposite to that of its revolution. Since it rotates about its axis in the opposite direction to how other planets do, if you were on Venus, you’d see the sun rise in the west and

set in the east.

With an axis tilted at just 3 degrees, the seasons are intangible – it is hot throughout. Venus is the hottest planet in the solar system because:

  • It is close to the sun
  • Its super-dense atmosphere comprising of Carbon Dioxide and layers of Ozone facilitates an extreme version of the Greenhouse Effect.

The temperature is maintained at around 870 Fahrenheit (465 Celsius); enough to melt Lead. The surface temperatures can rise up to 880 degrees Fahrenheit (471 Celsius).

We cannot send rovers to Venus as we have to Mars because the extreme temperatures would fry the circuits no matter how well we protected them. Probes that land there don’t last long.

The Terrain:

Most of the ground on Venus is flat plains that are dotted with volcanoes that are active. Lava flowing on the surface has carved out long trenches, some of which are up to 3,000 miles (5,000 Kilometers) long – the longest of any planet.

There are many mountain ranges on the planet. One of the most spectacular ranges is known as Maxwell Montes. It is 540 miles (870 kilometers) long and it rises 20,000 Feet (8.8 kilometers) off the ground.

There are craters but they are all at least 0.9 miles (1.5 kilometers) because any meteor smaller than that wouldn’t make it through the atmosphere.

There are also unique features called Coronae (crowns). They are ring-like features that form when hot magma underneath the crust rises thus distorting the surface of the planet. There are other raised structures called Tesserae (tiles) that have many ridges and valleys.

How many moons does Venus have?

Like Mercury, Venus has no moons. This is most likely due to their close proximity to the Sun. Any moons that could form would have to be extremely close to the parent planet as the gravitational pull from the Sun would likely swallow them up. That said, if the moon formed too close to the planet it would likely be destroyed by tidal gravitational forces.

Is there water on Venus?

There are small amounts of water vapor in the atmosphere. The surface is completely dry because the extreme heat would vaporize water.

How much would you weigh on Venus?

Venus’ mass is 82% that of Earth. If you weigh 100 lbs. (45 kilograms) here, you would weigh 91 lbs. (41 kilograms) on Venus.

The magnetic field is extremely weak; it is 0.000015 that of Earth. It is weak because the planet spins too slowly to swirl the molten iron core fast enough to create a strong magnetic field.

Man’s Missions to Venus

The US, Soviet Union, Japan, and European Space Agency (ESA) have launched a total of 20 missions to Venus so far.

The Mariner 2 by NASA flew by in 1962 and it was closely followed by Venera 7 by the Soviets. Venera 7 landed but it was destroyed in less than an hour. Venera 9 was the first to send us surface photos.

Magellan (NASA) was the first spacecraft to orbit the planet. It was used to map the physical features we know of. Venus Express by ESA followed suit and spent eight years orbiting the planet. It was the first to notice lightning in the dense Venusian clouds.

Additional Readings

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