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Spaceship Earth. Meet the Neighbours 'Venus'

Updated on September 8, 2019
lawrence01 profile image

The universe is vast and wonderful. It can make us feel so small and insignificant, but it can also make us feel so special that we're here.

Say 'Hello' to the brightest 'Star' in the sky.

Our nearest neighbour, and a very strange world indeed.
Our nearest neighbour, and a very strange world indeed. | Source

The 'Morning Star'

Have you ever had the chance to watch a sunrise? It's an amazing thing in itself, the sun's rays slowly creeping towards you as the huge orb slowly seemingly climbs into the sky to greet the day.

When you see it from the Earth it's no wonder that ancient man thought that the sun and even the universe revolved around us! Here we were, on a terrestrial ball, the only one that seemed to be covered in water and has an atmosphere that we can breathe, and everything seems to move around the ball, it must have been amazing to see.

Don't get me wrong, ancient man didn't believe the Earth to be flat! He knew right from the time of the ancient Egyptians that the Earth was round, and he had a good idea of how big it was, but here were all these strange celestial objects seemingly moving around the ball in a 'dance' that he saw with his own eyes.

Right before the sun rose came the 'brightest star' in the sky, so bright was the star that it got its own special name.

The first appearance, In Sumerian records

Venus was first noticed by the ancient Sumerians about three thousand years before Christ, actually, man probably knew about the 'Morning Star' well before then, and astronomical records have been found going back 13,000 years, but it's not clear if man back then had a name for the 'Morning Star', by the way, the name here has nothing to do with its later political meaning, it was the name of a 'star' that wasn't a 'star'

The ancient Sumerians used the name 'Inanna' after their goddess for love, sex and beauty! kinda similar to the name the Romans gave her!

There was also a 'star' that was incredibly bright that was the first one seen at night when the sun went down, back then man thought they were two different 'stars' but the ancient Babylonians figured out that they were one and the same, this was around 1700 BCE but the next bit gets really interesting!

'Lucifer' or 'Light bringer'

Right up until researching this hub I never realised that the name 'Lucifer' is actually associated with the planet Venus! It's the name that the Romans gave to the Morning star appearances of Venus, but the evening appearances was given the name 'Vesper'

Apparently in just about every ancient religion the planet Venus represented a 'fall from the heavens' or from grace, yet the planet itself seemed to look so beautiful, so inviting, lets take a closer look at her.

Isaiah 14 verses 12-15

"How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, 'I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.' But you are brought down to the realm of the dead, to the depths of the pit.

A quick intro to the planet

Venus and Earth

The two planets are almost the same size. Earth just beats Venus in size as she's about 5% larger and slightly has slightly more mass than her 'twin' but Venus is a very different world to that of Earth.

Just like Mercury, Venus has no moon. Scientists aren't totally sure as to why this is, but the main theory is that Venus may once have had a 'moon' but a huge asteroid collision with the planet might have been big enough to totally reverse the planet's spin (On Venus the sun rises in the West and sets in the East!) thus throwing any object that might have been orbiting the planet out of sync causing it to say "Bye" to the planet

Size is the only way in which the two relate, all the rest is totally different, and I mean radically so!

Atmosphere


Earth's atmosphere is 78% Nitrogen, 21% Oxygen and the remaining 1% made up of a dozen or more gases including Argon and Carbon Dioxide, Carbon Dioxide makes up less than 0.4% of our atmosphere (and think of the problems we already have with greenhouse gases!) But Venus' atmosphere is 95% Carbon Dioxide.

Rain

On Earth, it's simply H2O or Water mixed with a few trace minerals.

Venus has Sulfuric acid for rain!

Surface temperature

One HOT Babe!!


Venus is actually the hottest planet in the solar system with temperatures reaching 850 degrees Fahrenheit during the Venusian day. By the way, the Carbon Dioxide doesn't allow it to cool off that much at night, Venus retains the heat!

We all know that life thrives on Earth, even in the most hostile part of our planet or the hostile part to us that is, the deepest oceans life is abundant, down there the pressure is so intense that an unprotected human would die instantly, and no submarine has ever got right down to the bottom, yet life is abundant.

The surface of Venus has the same pressure as what it's like at the same depth that the most advanced submarine we have ever built can just about survive in that pressure, but the Sulfuric acid would eat through the hull in seconds.

The Venusian day

Like Mercury, Venus' day is longer than it's year. Every 224 of earth's days Venus completes one of its orbits around the sun resulting in a Venusian year, but it rotates on its axis every 243 days making the day longer than the year.

One other way that Venus is known to be like Earth is that they both are known to have a core made up of Iron, but the big difference here is that the Earth's core acts like a dynamo generating a magnetic field that helps protect us from solar radiation.

Venus does have a magnetic field but it's a lot less potent than that of Earth resulting in solar radiation being able to hit the Venusian atmosphere and strip it of all the lighter gases like Hydrogen and Helium but leaving the heavier gases like Carbon Dioxide behind resulting in a runaway greenhouse effect!

How far from us?

If Venus is our nearest neighbour, how far from us is it?


Remember we said last week that Astronomers measure things using the distance of the Earth from the sun as a measure of distance with the 93,000,000 miles being one Astronomical unit?

Well Venus is regarded as being 0.78 AU from the sun, basically 0.22 AU from us at the closest point, that equates to about 25 million miles (Mars at its nearest point is 45-50 million miles) so she's pretty close, and but for the fact that the greenhouse gases make things really awkward, she would have been a possible contender for human colonization.

There are still those who want to go there and colonize the place, but they often talk of building cities suspended in the atmosphere of the planet, stuff that's many years in the future.

Have we been there?

By that I mean have we sent probes to the planet? The answer is yes, but not one of them lasted more than a few hours before they gave out due to the extreme heat and pressure.

The Soviets sent a number of probes to the planet. Some landed on the planet but didn't last more than a few minutes.

in 1961 the Soviets crashed the probe 'Venera 3' into the planet after failing to launch the first two in the series (they were planned as 'flybys') and it became the first probe to actually 'hit' another celestial body.

In total over 40 probes have done flybys of Venus with the first American one being Mariner 2 in 1962 which was the first-ever successful interplanetary mission, but it was only meant to be a Venus flyby and to measure the magnetic field of Venus.

In total, the Soviets either landed or crashed a dozen probes into Venus and gave us much of the information we have of the planet.

Are we going back?

There will probably be more probes sent to Venus, but human colonization is probably not really 'on the cards' simply because of the heat and toxic makeup of the atmosphere, we haven't even talked about the volcanoes on Venus, estimated to be many more than here on Earth, and they're much bigger than we have with some of them being sixty miles across, one of which is as tall as Mount Everest.

Some scientists think that life may still exist in the Venusian atmosphere, but the chances are so small that very little is being done to confirm that, except for the odd 'flyby' that is.

Surprisingly Venus is often the first port of call for probes heading for the outer solar system, they're sent to Venus to 'slingshot' around the planet to use Venus' gravity to accelerate the probes to have the speed to reach the outer solar system using less fuel than if they went straight from Earth, it adds an extra few months to the flight, but saves a lot of fuel, and allows the agencies to test their apparatus before heading out.

Just a little intro here

I have to admit, I've been a little surprised at the response that I had to the hub on Mercury, it's been nice to see so many visitors and I hope you enjoyed reading about the little 'messenger of the gods' as well as reading about this 'goddess of love' who isn't really.

It's time for me to say goodbye, but I hope that you've enjoyed reading a little more about our 'neighbour' Venus and just how different she is to the planet we live on.

Bye for now

Right now I'm wondering if I should be thinking of putting something together in the form of a booklet about the planets, what do you think?

Let me know

Lawrence

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    • lawrence01 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lawrence Hebb 

      6 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      William

      Sorry I didn't reply earlier, must have 'slipped through the cracks'.

      You've got a fair point with the name, I used the New International Version of the Bible, but other versions have different ways of expressing it.

      You point out the 'son of the morning' is the title given in the Hebrew, but wouldn't that also be the 'Morning Star'?

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 

      6 months ago from San Diego California

      Could it be that the ¨fall from heaven¨ described by the prophet Isaiah, describes Venus´ descent from a lush, water-filled planet teeming with life into the toxic hellhole that it has become? Could a similar fate be awaiting Earth if we continue to rape and plunder our own world?

      Wonderful article on our neighbor in the sky.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      6 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      I'm just getting caught up after a bit of a break and read your article on the moon first. I asked if you would consider putting this into book form, and then I come here and see you've already considered it. I say, go for it! You've packed so much information into these articles.

      Not to be critical but because I think it's important - there are so many Bible versions these days and things can get confusing. The correct Hebrew translation of the verse in Isaiah is, " How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!" The morning star is a name given to Jesus in Revelation 2:28 and 22:16. Just a personal thing I guess, but it bothers me that some translations give lucifer the same title that belongs to Jesus alone.

      Anyway, as always, a great article, and I hope to see it in book form when you've finished.

    • lawrence01 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lawrence Hebb 

      6 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Denise

      A very good idea, and lots to work on.

      Thank you.

      Lawrence

    • lawrence01 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lawrence Hebb 

      6 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Zulma

      Totally agree, but I think a lot of the ideas came from the time before we sent probes there.

      It was only after the Soviets sent their probes we got the true picture of what it was like.

      Of about a dozen probes none lasted more than two hours

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      6 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Humor is only part. He wants to get up early tomorrow to see stuff. Early to bed boy. The finest teachers inspire us to want to learn more. Thank you Maestro.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 

      6 months ago from Fresno CA

      Very interesting info. I think a booklet or zine sounds like a good idea. Add some art and sell it on Etsy or something. I know lots of astronomy lovers who would be intrigued, including me.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • lawrence01 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lawrence Hebb 

      6 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      James

      I'm glad you enjoyed the two. We may get to learn a few things about the stars as we go.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      6 months ago from United Kingdom

      Hi, Lawrence.

      I find it interesting that such a hostile planet would be given the name of a goddess who represents love and beauty.

      Given said hostility, I have to wonder at anyone who thinks this might be a planet worth colonizing. Castles in the air sound romantic, but hardly practical.

      Looking forward to the next instalment.

    • lawrence01 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lawrence Hebb 

      6 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Eric

      Yes it does! It rains a substance that gives off a 'farty' smell. Not that you'd notice with the heat, choking on the carbon dioxide and burning with your spacesuit being disolved by the rain.

      Must say, I like the sense of humour though:-)

    • lawrence01 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lawrence Hebb 

      6 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      Thought you'd enjoy it. Definitely considering it, but we'll have to see how I can work it out.

    • justthemessenger profile image

      James C Moore 

      6 months ago from The Great Midwest

      Ironic, just a couple of days ago, I visited the Adler Planetarium in Chicago. It had been many moons (pun intended) since I've been there. I came across information about the basic elements of the stars, planets and ourselves. Now, I read your hub that talks about the atmosphere on Venus. Good info.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      6 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Lawrence Gabe and I will get to this later as "required" reading but I went over some already. Now this little bugger was laughing to hard. "Son this is science - not silly". "Dad do you mean that Venus rains farts?".

      Thanks for this series. "But what does he say about Pluto - Planet?".

      So much fun my friend. We have had a haze lately I miss the old gal.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Loved the information. Go for it on that book idea. Why not?

    • lawrence01 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lawrence Hebb 

      6 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      John

      I agree about the name, though I hadn't realised the Romans used the name Lucifer for the 'Morning Star'

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      6 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Another really interesting chapter in the series, Lawrence. Venus' name may sound inviting but by the sound of its sulphuric acid for rain and scorching heat, I think Lucifer fits it better. Nice job. Yes, you should write a booklet.

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