Venus, and its position in the sky at birth is used in astrology to describe how emotions are expressed, particularly in relation to love, marriage, childbirth, and romance. venus symbolizes:

In astrological charts, venus is symbolized as a female figure :

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Mass..........................1.0736 x 1025 lbm, 4.869 x 1024 kg
Density.......................327.1 lb/cubic foot
Mean Radius...................3760 miles
Max Distance from Sun.........67,730,000 miles
Min Distance from Sun...........66,490,000 miles
Gravity relative to Earth ....0.878
Rotation Period.................243 d, 0 h, 26 min, 56 s
Revolution time around Sun....224 d, 16 h, 49 min, 26 s
Orbital Velocity..............21.76 miles/second
Number of Moons.................0

Researchers studying the data from the Magellan probe had a problem: there weren't enough impact craters.

To help solve this problem, a map of all impact craters on Venus was produced. The distribution was totally random1!

Now, since impact craters happen over time, one would expect there to be relatively more craters in older areas of the planet. This led Gerald Schaber and others to a startling conclusion: the rocks across the entire surface of the planet had to be the same age! This is in stark contrast with the geology of, say, the Earth: Some rocks were formed last week, others billions of years ago.

Given the actual number of craters and an estimated rate of their formation, this age was estimated at around 500 million years.

1 This randomness met statistical tests, but a human test was also performed: Subjects were given the actual Venus crater map and several random plots produced by computer. No-one was able to tell one from the other.

Venus is an incrediblely unfriendly and difficult place to live in:

First of all, it is the most volcanic planet in our solar system.

Second of all, it is unbelievably hot: the clouds are in constant formation, and the greenhouse effect takes place to an extreme level.

Third of all, the atmosphere is made up of sulpher dioxide and carbon dioxide. No pure oxygen at all.

And if that doesn't finish you off, the atmospheric pressure is so monstrous that if you were to suddenly arrive on the surface of this planet, you would implode before you suffocated.

As can be seen in Karla's wu above, the planet Venus has rotation time of over 243 days, meaning that this is the length of day on Venus. That means that the nights are about 60 days long, which can be compared to the constant days/nights within the polar circles on Earth. Of course, no one lives on Venus anyway.

Anyhow, the interesting thing about Venus's rotation is that it is retrograde, meaning that it spins the other way compared to most other planets, Earth included. This means that the (about) 20 days long sunrise takes place in west. Except that the sun rarely penetrate the heavy clouds over the planet.

It has long been a mystery why Venus rotates the "wrong" way. The slow days are believed to be due to the heavy gravitational pull from the sun; the innermost planet Mercury only have 3 days on every revolution of the sun - Mercury-year, that is.

When it comes to the direction of the spin, researchers thought that the planet might have flipped upside down at one time, so that it now rotates the same way as Earth, only upside down... But recently a French team at Institute Astronomie et Systemes Dynamiques of researchers published a work that suggest that Venus did not flip, but stop. The rotation was slowed until it stopped and started rotating the other direction, much like Earth's rotation is slowing a few seconds every 100,000 years.

The reasons for the slowing rotations could be, apart from the heavy pull from the sun, tidal waves that resulted from Sun's gravitation as well. Friction between the planet's mantle and core, as well as tidal effect from other planets may play a part. The study concludes that the rotation axis of Venus only have four stable states, two in each direction, and that the retrograde states are more stable.

Source: Scientific American

The second planet from the sun, Venus is named for the Roman goddess of love and beauty (her Greek name is Aphrodite). Venus has the distinction of being the brightest object in the sky aside from the sun and the Moon. Its brightness is not only the result of the planet's orbit's (relatively) close proximity to that of Earth (about 0.277 AU) but the reflection of sunlight off its cloud-covered surface. Venus' atmosphere is covered by several layers of thick clouds (several kilometres thick, in fact) composed of sulfuric acid. These clouds produce an advanced form of the greenhouse effect (trapping heat that enters the atmosphere from the sun, raising the global temperature), creating a mean surface temperature of 726 Kelvin. Venus' surface temperature is actually hotter than Mercury's, despite Mercury being much close to the sun. (Venus' mean distance from the sun is 0.723 AU. Mercury's mean distance from the sun is 0.387 AU.) Beneath the clouds the atmosphere is made up of 96% carbon dioxide, 3% nitrogen, and 0.003% water vapour.

The atmospheric pressure on the surface is roughly 90 atmospheres (around the same pressure that would be found 1 kilometre deep in an ocean on Earth). Higher cloud layers can reach speeds of 350 kilometres per hour but on the surface winds are very slow. The surface itself is mostly plains with a few large depressions and two continent-sized mountainous areas named Aphrodite Terra (which is near Venus' equator) and Ishtar Terra (which is in the northern hemisphere). Much of the surface is covered with huge lava flows and it appears that Venus is still very voncanically active in a few areas.

One feature of the surface that has greatly puzzled scientists is the dramatic lack of craters on the surface when compared to other planets such as Mercery or Mars or satellites like the Moon. There are several possible explanations for this: First, Venus is believed to be a relatively young planet, much like Earth (the two planets actually have quite a bit in common -- more on that later), and therefore hasn't been exposed to as many meteorites as some other planets. The dense and ultra-hot atmosphere also probably burns up many meteors before they can strike the surface. Anything large enough not be completely burnt up in the atmosphere likely breaks up before it impacts with the surface, which would explain why the few craters Venus has are located bunched together. Another theory about why the surface of Venus is largely unscarred is that around 800 million years ago volcanic activity engulfed the entire surface of the planet in magma, thus melting away any discernable impact craters. If this theory is true, it is possible that volcanic activity may once again engulf the surface someday. There is also some evidence that the surface of Venus spreads and folds on itself (but there is no evidence of plate tectonics). Not much is known about this but it may have to do with the drastically higher surface temperature.

Venus takes approximately 224 days, 16 hours, 49 minutes, and 26 seconds to revolve around the sun. A day on Venus (the time it takes for the planet complete one full rotation) lasts 243 days, 26 minutes, and 56 seconds. Yes, Venus' day is longer than its year by almost ten Earth days. Not only this, Venus also rotates retrograde Earth and most other planets in its solar system (possible reasons for this are already covered in bigmouth_strikes' write-up). The slow rotation of Venus is thought to be the reason that planet has no magnetic field.

Venus shares a number of similarities with Earth and, prior to the discovery of what the environment on the surface was like, was thought by many to possibly be home to lifeforms. Venus' diametre (12104 kilometres) is just under 95% of Earth's (12756 kilometres). The mass of the two planets is also close (though not as much): Venus with a mass of 4.87 x 1024 kilograms and Earth with a mass of 5.98 x 1024 (Venus' mass is roughly 81% that of Earth's). The mean density of Venus is 5250 kilograms per cubic metre (roughly 95% that of Earth's).

Unlike Earth, Venus has no natural satellites. Between 1672 and 1887, however, there was some speculation amongst astronomers about whether or not Venus did, in fact, have no satellites. Over the course of those years several astronomers claimed to have seen a small object moving with Venus. Other astronomers looking for the reported moon, eventually named Neith by astronomer M. Hozeau in 1884 failed to have much luck in finding the mysterious object (Neith was the name of an ancient Egyptian goddess said to wear a veil never lifted by a mortal). In 1887, the Belgian Academy of Sciences published a lengthy report investigating every sighting of Neith up until then. It was concluded that the occasionally seen satellite of Venus was, in fact, a number of different stars that appeared close to the planet at the time the supposed moon was observed.

The first visit to Venus was made in 1962 by the Mariner 2 spacecraft. Since then over 20 craft have been sent to the planet (none manned, as the planet's environment is very unfriendly to not only life but various metals). The Soviet spacecraft Venera 7 was the first craft from Earth to land on the surface of not only Venus but any planet other than Earth and did so in 1970.


The Roman goddess of love, fertility and beauty.

Venus was originally a goddess of the field, probably of Latin or Etruscan origin. Around the 3rd century BC, she became associated with Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love.

Venus' descent and descendants

There are two possibilities as to her descent. Either she was the daughter of Jupiter and Dione, or she was made from the sea-foam on Saturn's castrated testes. Most Romans and Greeks seem to have favoured the former story, although the latter sounds much cooler.

Being the goddess of love, Venus had no shortage of lovers. She was the wife of Vulcan, but frequent lover of Mars. She also took two mortal lovers: Adonis and Anchises, to whom she bore Aeneas. She also had another son: Cupid, whose father is not known. All this despite the fact that she was the goddess of chastity in women!

Her place in Roman religion

The Romans revered Venus as the mother of their race, presumably because she was the mother of Aeneas. They had three names for her: Venus Genetrix, the mother of the Roman people; Venus Victrix, the bringer of victory; and Venus Verticordia, protector of chastity.

Most of Venus' myths are merely Roman borrowings of Greek myths concerning Aphrodite. However, Venus being associated with the coming of spring and with chastity are Roman ideas.

Festivals and Art dedicated to Venus

Venus had two festivals: the Veneralia on April 1 and another, smaller festival on August 19. The month of April takes its name from Aphrodite, and is thus connected with Venus. Venus is also associated with Friday, something we are reminded of by the French word for the day, 'Vendredi.'

There are many representations of Venus in art. The most famous are the Venus de Milo, Venus de Medici, Venus de Capua and the Capitoline Venus. In poetry, she is immortalised in the Pervigilium Veneris and as a character in Vergil's Aeneid


Ve"nus (?), n. [L. Venus, -eris, the goddess of love, the planet Venus.]

1. Class. Myth.

The goddess of beauty and love, that is, beauty or love deified.

2. Anat.

One of the planets, the second in order from the sun, its orbit lying between that of Mercury and that of the Earth, at a mean distance from the sun of about 67,000,000 miles. Its diameter is 7,700 miles, and its sidereal period 224.7 days. As the morning star, it was called by the ancients Lucifer; as the evening star, Hesperus.

3. Alchem.

The metal copper; -- probably so designated from the ancient use of the metal in making mirrors, a mirror being still the astronomical symbol of the planet Venus.


4. Zool.

Any one of numerous species of marine bivalve shells of the genus Venus or family Veneridae. Many of these shells are large, and ornamented with beautiful frills; others are smooth, glossy, and handsomely colored. Some of the larger species, as the round clam, or quahog, are valued for food.

Venus's basin Bot., the wild teasel; -- so called because the connate leaf bases form a kind of receptacle for water, which was formerly gathered for use in the toilet. Also called Venus's bath. -- Venus's basket Zool., an elegant, cornucopia-shaped, hexactinellid sponge (Euplectella speciosa) native of the East Indies. It consists of glassy, transparent, siliceous fibers interwoven and soldered together so as to form a firm network, and has long, slender, divergent anchoring fibers at the base by means of which it stands erect in the soft mud at the bottom of the sea. Called also Venus's flower basket, and Venus's purse. -- Venus's comb. (a) Bot. Same as Lady's comb. (b) Zool. A species of Murex (M. tenuispinus). It has a long, tubular canal, with a row of long, slender spines along both of its borders, and rows of similar spines covering the body of the shell. Called also Venus's shell. -- Venus's fan Zool., a common reticulated, fanshaped gorgonia (Gorgonia flabellum) native of Florida and the West Indies. When fresh the color is purple or yellow, or a mixture of the two. -- Venus's flytrap. Bot. See Flytrap, 2. -- Venus's girdle Zool., a long, flat, ribbonlike, very delicate, transparent and iridescent ctenophore (Cestum Veneris) which swims in the open sea. Its form is due to the enormous development of two spheromeres. See Illust. in Appendix. -- Venus's hair Bot., a delicate and graceful fern (Adiantum Capillus-Veneris) having a slender, black and shining stem and branches. -- Venus's hair stone Min., quartz penetrated by acicular crystals of rutile. -- Venus's looking-glass Bot., an annual plant of the genus Specularia allied to the bellflower; -- also called lady's looking-glass. -- Venus's navelwort Bot., any one of several species of Omphalodes, low boraginaceous herbs with small blue or white flowers. -- Venus's pride Bot., an old name for Quaker ladies. See under Quaker. -- Venus's purse. Zool. Same as Venus's basket, above. -- Venus's shell. Zool. (a) Any species of Cypraea; a cowrie. (b) Same as Venus's comb, above. (c) Same as Venus, 4. -- Venus's slipper. (a) Bot. Any plant of the genus Cypripedium. See Lady's slipper. (b) Zool. Any heteropod shell of the genus Carinaria. See Carinaria.


© Webster 1913.

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