On average, Venus is 66 million miles away from the Sun. And after the central star, Venus is the brightest object in our night sky. So the ancients thought the planet was two different objects since it stayed near the Sun. For example, you can best see Venus in the morning or evening, depending on its orbital location. So it earned the nickname of the morning and evening star.
How Far Is Venus From the Sun and how does it orbit? Our closest planetary neighbor orbits the Sun in an ellipse, but it has a near-circular orbit. So Venus always stays +/- a few percent of the same distance from the Sun.
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Let’s learn more about this fiery hot planet whose surface temperatures could melt lead. But first, we’ll find out if it’s so hot because of how far Venus is from the Sun.
Learning About Venus
Venus has such a thick atmosphere that if you could stand on its inferno of a surface without being immediately incinerated, the Sun would appear as a dark smear of light.
You may have heard that Venus is Earth’s twin since their size, composition, and probable formation are similar. But, in reality, the two planets are more opposite than equal. For instance, Venus spins in the opposite direction of Earth. Plus, it has no seasons. And finally, Venus has a day that is longer than its year.
The most significant difference between the two planets is Venus’ runaway greenhouse effect which turned its surface ice water into a vapor that leaked into space. A planet that potentially held life after its formation is now an inferno with a thick, cloudy, and poisonous atmosphere.
Venus’s Astronomical Data
|Average Orbital Distance From the Sun||67,238,251miles (108,209,476 km)|
|Perihelion (Closest) Distance To the Sun||~66.7 million miles (~108 million km) 0.7 AU|
|Aphelion (Furthest) Distance From the Sun||~67.7 million miles (~109 million km)|
|Length of Day (Complete day/night cycle)||2802 hours, 243 Earth days|
|Length of Year (Complete Sun orbit)||225 Earth days|
Orbital and Rotational Effects On Venus From the Sun
An interesting fact about Venus days is that they are longer than Venus years. One Venusian day is equal to 243 Earth days. However, one Venusian year is only 225 Earth days. The planet actually orbits the Sun quicker than it completes an entire cycle on its own radius.
If you’re waiting to watch the sunset, it will take 117 Earth days. So you’ll have to exercise extreme patience. And you’ll also need to look toward the East since Venus spins in the opposite direction of Earth.
Additionally, Venus has almost no tilt on its axis, so those very long days stay inferno hot all year round. The angle is too small for the fiery world to have seasons. So that means no snowy winters to help offset some of the heat! Leave your mittens at home!
Super long days facing the Sun and no real axis tilt attribute to the planet’s high temperatures. But how far Venus is from the Sun is actually what makes it hellishly hot.
Perihelion and Aphelion
The difference between Venus’ perihelion and aphelion is only about 1.5%, so it has an orbit that is relatively close to circular.
Venus likely formed when the ancient solar system collapsed in on itself. It created an enormous spinning cloud of dust, gas, space debris, and ice. Our Sun formed from the cloud’s center. Then the remaining particles zoomed about violently, crashing into one another and forming more prominent groups. And finally, creating planets.
The inner planets consumed the heavier materials, becoming terrestrial worlds with metallic cores and rocky surfaces. At the same time, the lighter materials drifted further from the Sun and formed into gas and ice giants.
So the planet literally formed into the type it did because of how far Venus is from the Sun.
Temperature Effects: How Far Venus is From the Sun
Venus and Earth are twins in terms of similar makeup and sizes. And in ancient days, they may have been even more alike. Scientists think Venus likely had some Earth-like conditions, possibly even liquid surface water like our oceans.
Venus’ current atmosphere varies greatly from Earth’s today, which may directly result from how far Venus is from the Sun. Nevertheless, the fiery world interests scientists trying to learn what created the planet’s runaway greenhouse effect.
Presumably, knowing more about why Venus transformed into an inferno helps us prevent the same fate here on Earth. So global missions to Venus teach us about the planet.
Soviet Union Venus missions began in 1961 with Venera 1 and ran through Venera 16 in 1983. They succeeded in landing ten short-lived surface probes, which snapped images and gathered data.
Venera probes and orbiter flybys show barren landscapes with sulfur-yellow, carbon dioxide-filled skies. The atmosphere almost certainly developed because of how far Venus is from the Sun. The star’s intense heat and solar winds whip Venus’ atmosphere into a soupy toxic mess.
Cloud Cover Intensity
Venus’s thick clouds blow around the planet’s surface at about 100 meters per second (200 miles per hour). And they make a full circle of the world every four and a half days. That’s pretty wild since the planet spins so slowly on its axis.
Interestingly, the winds and atmospheric clouds blow toward the west since Venus rotates that way. It is opposite Earth’s rotation.
In addition, how far Venus is from the Sun affects the cloud formation. For example, there are more clumpy clouds near the equator instead of the long streaks nearer to the poles. Scientists believe the cloud cover density changes near the equator because of the Sun’s greater power.
How Far Venus is From the Sun: Temperature
Venus’s proximity to the Sun and its extreme atmosphere create the hottest surface temperatures on any planet in our solar system. The fiery world is even hotter than Mercury, which is closer to the Sun.
And the difference in surface temperature boils down to each planet’s atmosphere. Mercury is so near to the Sun that its solar winds strip the small world of its atmosphere. So Mercury has no insulation and experiences temperature variations.
Venus’s thick atmosphere works as a blanket to keep solar heat trapped on the planet’s surface. Thus the insanely high temperatures push toward 900℉ (482℃.)
If a visitor to Venus could somehow survive the heat, the high surface pressure would likely kill them. The pressure is similar to being a mile under one of Earth’s oceans. In addition, the corrosive carbon dioxide would destroy life within seconds.
Summary: How Far is Venus From the Sun?
From a distance, Venus looks like a peaceful Earth-sized planet. The corrosive acid cloud-covered surface looks rather beautiful. But the planet’s proximity to the Sun makes it deadly hot and inhospitable to life as we know it.
With scorching temperatures, Venus could melt lead. In addition, the inferno is one of the sky’s brightest objects. Its thick atmosphere reflects the Sun’s light into Space. As a result, Venus is a sight to behold, with clouds whipping around the fiery world at 200 miles per hour.