Sunday, July 13, 2014

Venus




Order from Sun: 2
Named For: Roman goddess of love
Diameter: 7520 miles
Volume: .86 Earth
Gravity: 0.90 Earth
Distance from Sun: 67 million miles
Orbital Period: 224 Earth days
Orbital Inclination: 3.4 degrees
Orbital Eccentricity: .006
Length of Day: 262 Earth Days
Temperature: 865F
Composition: Rock, silicates
Atmospheric Pressure: 93x Earth
Atmospheric Composition: carbon dioxide, nitrogen, sulfuric acid
Moons: none
Rings: none
Notable Exploration: Soviet Veneras (1967-83), Magellan (1990-4)

As the third brightest object in the solar system, only out-shown by the Sun and Moon, Venus is a true sight to behold. Venus is the second planet from the Sun and, because it lies within Earth's orbit, is classified as inferior. Because of its location relative to Earth, Venus can only be seen in the morning or evening. Averaging out at about magnitude -4, Venus cannot be missed. The greatest elongation possible for Venus is about 47 degrees. The best times for viewing Venus are Spring evenings and Fall mornings, when Venus can be seen about half way up to the zenith during a good appearance. At other times of year when the ecliptic is at a flatter angle, Venus appears much closer to the horizon. Because of its brightness and movement in relation to the Sun, Venus was given special significance by many ancient cultures, especially the Maya of Central America, who considered Venus just as important as the Sun. Because of its brightness, Venus is very easy to spot. So go outside when Venus is at its best placement, you can’t miss it.

When looking at Venus through binoculars, it may be possible to see phases if the binoculars are strong enough (above 15x power) and are mounted on a tripod.

In telescopes, Venus can appear to be a mini Moon because of its very obvious phases. Because it is closer to us then Mercury, when watching the phases of Venus, look for changes in the planet's angular size as the planet will appear at its largest as a crescent and its smallest as it nears full.


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