Summary:Mercury is a small, hot, dry, airless, geologically dead world whose surface resembles the Moon.It is heavily cratered.It has the greatest day-night temperature range of any planet or moon. It has the greatest density of any planet or moon because of its massive metal core.The single most visible feature is Caloris Basin. It’s surface displays “wrinkles” known as scarps. It possesses a weak magnetic field.
Venus approaches nearer Earth than any planet. At inferior conjunction, Venus can come within about 42 million kilometers or 25 million miles of Earth. Venus is brighter in our skies than any other planet. Venus brightness is a result of its nearness and its highly reflective white cloud cover. Venus can cast a shadow!
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Venus orbits the Sun in the least eccentric(most circular) of all planetary orbits.Venus revolves about the Sun once in 225 days but takes 243 days to complete a single rotation Venus has the unique distinction of having its day longer than its year!Venus direction of rotation is retrograde – opposite the direction of rotation of most of the other planets.
Venus has a very dense atmosphere- perhaps a 100 times thicker than Earth’s. The atmosphere is composed of 97% Carbon Dioxide2% Nitrogen1% of Oxygen, Water Vapor and Methane
The thick white clouds that cover Venus are composed of Sulfuric Acid. Sulfuric Acid. The clouds are also very high. The bottoms of the clouds on Venus are higher than the tops of the very highest clouds on Earth.
Astronomy 4Astronomy 4
Venus has the highest surface temperature of any planet – about 900F. The planet’s high surface temperature is a result of a “runaway greenhouse effect.” Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere traps the Sun’s heat. Unlike Mercury which has a large diurnal temperature range, temperatures on Venus are relatively uniform everywhere on the planet’s surface.
More spacecraft have been sent to Venus than any other planet. The Russian Venera 7 was first spacecraft to land on Venus and broadcast data form its surface in 1970.
The U.S. Pioneer 12 spacecraft was the first to generate a crude radar map of the planet’s surface.
The U.S. MagellanMagellanspacecraft mapped Venus in great detail using advanced radar imaging between 1991 and 1993. The Magellan spacecraft returned more data to Earth than all previous missions to Venus combined.
Venera 9 Image of Surface of Venus
Venera 13 Image of Surface of Venus
Magellan Spacecraft Image Magellan Spacecraft Image of Venusof VenusThe effective resolution of this image is about 3 kilometers.