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A trip across the Solar System: Venus

The surface of Venus beneath its cloud coverThe surface of Venus beneath its cloud coverVenus is the second planet from the Sun. About the same size as Earth, Venus is sometimes called our sister planet. But these sisters couldn’t be more different. Named after the Roman goddess of love, Venus is probably the nastiest place in the Solar System. If anyone landing on it could resist the heat, they would be suffocated by unbreathable carbon dioxide, dissolved by sulphuric acid and crushed by air pressure about 90 times that on Earth.

The phases of Venus, as seen from EarthThe phases of Venus, as seen from Earth

Day and year

Venus spins slowly on its axis (and backwards, the only planet to do so). It actually takes longer to complete one rotation than it does to orbit the Sun. So Venus’s day is longer than its year.

Venus reflected in the Pacific OceanVenus reflected in the Pacific Ocean


Venus is named after the Roman goddess of love. It is the only planet in the Solar System named after a female. The Babylonians also named the planet after their goddess of love: Ishtar.

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