Venus is often referred to as Earth’s sister planet because they share many similar characteristics such as size and density. Venus can come closer than any other planet in our Solar System to approaching us at its closest point – typically reaching this threshold every 115 months or so.
However, recent research indicates that Mercury may actually be closer than Pluto on average.
Venus is an infernal planet with temperatures that often surpass 900 degrees Fahrenheit due to its thick atmosphere comprised largely of carbon dioxide, nitrogen and water vapor – creating the greenhouse effect and making Venus one of the hottest planets in our solar system. Furthermore, this composition absorbs an immense amount of energy from the Sun which further inflames temperatures on this hellish world.
Venus is one of the two brightest objects visible in our night sky, second only to the Moon. This brightness can be attributed to its reflective atmosphere of sulphuric acid clouds which make up most of its atmosphere. Venus has become the most studied of rocky planets with numerous probes sent into space to explore its strange landscape.
Venus stands out among our Solar System planets due to its otherworldly appearance and absence of plate tectonics – its surface doesn’t appear to change with time due to shifting continents on Earth; on Venus however, they seem fixed together despite shifting.
Scientists have several hypotheses for why there are fewer tectonic activity on Venus; one hypothesis suggests a large celestial body might have collided with it at some point in history, altering its rotational axis and thus rendering its tectonics less active than on other planets. Another theory suggests Venus once being much closer to the Sun may have contributed to reduced activity in terms of its tectonic activity.
Venus boasts some breathtaking features that rival its atmosphere in terms of bizarreness. Notable examples are its volcanic features – particularly Sacajawea Crater named after Lewis and Clark’s Native American guide Sacajawea; bizarre structures called pancake domes with flat tops and steep sides; as well as ridged terrain known as tesserae. Scientists speculate these structures were formed when hot volcanic lava rose up quickly before cooling, leaving distinctive shapes that are easily identifiable on Venus.
Mercury is both the smallest planet and closest planet to our Sun in our solar system, but Venus holds that title due to her rockiness. Mercury does not feature moons like Venus does and orbits around in only 88 days – its orbit being so elliptical it sometimes comes closer than Earth, making it hard for us to discern when Mercury will make an approach; Romans nicknamed it the morning star or evening star as its appearance changed throughout its orbit and due to its role as messenger god.
Mercury’s surface is covered with impact craters and its atmosphere is too thin to retain heat from the Sun, leading to temperature swings of 840 to 275 F within days of one another – this represents one of the greatest in our Solar System! While its magnetic field may only be one-tenth as powerful as Earth’s, its presence still plays a critical role on Mercury’s environment; charged particles from solar winds often interact with it to cause magnetic storms which fling particles off its surface into space, creating tails of ions and atoms behind.
One of the great mysteries surrounding Mercury is why it has such an enormous iron core. One theory suggests it was much larger when formed, then an impact stripped off its silicate mantle; another possibility could be that some process accumulated more metal than silicate in its inner part of protoplanetary disk from which our Solar System formed; this concentration made Mercury especially dense.
Mercury may seem far away compared to Venus, but Mercury could actually be on average closer than any of the other Solar System planets. This is calculated by subtracting their average orbital radii; over time this difference may shift as each planet travels in nearly circular orbits but at different angular speeds.
Venus may be Earth’s closest planet, but Mars is actually closer than many people realize. One of the easiest planets to spot, Mars can easily be found by looking out your window at nighttime – appearing as a bright point. Due to its hostile environment and inhospitability it has been targeted for exploration by numerous robotic space missions as well as human explorers alike.
Mars differs significantly from Venus by having an extremely thin atmosphere which prevents heat from the Sun escaping quickly and keeping temperatures down, making its surface colder than that on Venus. Furthermore, its tilted axis of rotation is 25 degrees from that on Earth; hence its seasons tend to last longer due to taking longer for Mars to complete one orbit around its star.
Phobos and Deimos, two small moons orbiting Mars, can often be spotted in the night sky depending on the season and time of year. Phobos orbits at approximately 33.9 miles from Mars while Deimos lies approximately 2.5 times further. Both Phobos and Deimos are made from rock and iron; possibly captured asteroids by Mars’ gravitational pull over time.
Billions of years ago, Mars was similar to our home planet: large portions had oceans, and it could even support primitive forms of life. Astronomers such as Giovanni Schiaparelli and Percival Lowell even reported having seen long canals on Mars’ surface that might indicate civilization or life; though their claims were later dismissed by scientists, scientific interest in life on Mars has continued.
To determine the distance between two planets, subtracting their respective radiuses from that of the Sun will help. This method works for any two planets with coplanar orbits that follow roughly circular paths; if attempting to observe nearer to Sun planets is attempted however, you risk blinding from its intense glare and permanent vision loss.
Saturn, the sixth planet from the Sun and an expansive gas giant with beautiful rings, can be seen with naked eye. However, to view the rings it requires a telescope; and in ancient cultures Saturn was known by various names.
Pluto has an estimated diameter of over 1,800 miles (3,100 kilometers) and is the second-largest planet in our Solar System. Its dense atmosphere contains hydrogen and helium gas with trace amounts of ammonia, acetylene, ethane and phosphine compounds providing its pastel yellowish-brown hue. Wind speeds can reach 1,800 kilometers per hour (approximately 11,000 miles per hour).
Saturn’s rings are comprised of billions of small chunks of ice and rock ranging from dust-size up to mountain-sized in size. They orbit its planet, thought to have come from comets, asteroids or broken moons. Though very thin in thickness, each particle that makes up Saturn’s rings reflects sunlight numerous times back onto it giving Saturn its distinct ringed look.
On Saturn’s moon Enceladus, cryovolcanoes unleash geyser-like jets of water vapor, molecular hydrogen and other volatiles, as well as solid material into space – providing material for Saturn’s E Ring and being seen by scientists observing over 100 geysers since 2012. Scientists continue to explore Enceladus for signs of life.
Saturn stands out among the solar system with its spectacular aurora displays, created when gases in its atmosphere collide with particles in its magnetic field and are visible across both rings and poles of its planet. Pioneer 11 and Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft were the first to witness this amazing sight back in 1979.
Hubble Space Telescope captured Saturn’s aurora during the 1990s in high-resolution images that allowed us to observe how its intensity and shape varied as it traveled across its surface, like an orange wheel or spiral.