Joins us and DISCOVER Venus, planet of love and volcanoes, and then CREATE your own fantastical poster of Venus as a lost paradise or a toxic planet hostile to all life.
VENUS FAST FACTS:
Venus is the brightest celestial object in the night sky after the Moon.
Venus was the first planet beyond Earth visited by spacecraft in 1961. The Russian spacecraft that achieved this was called Venera 1.
Like Earth, Venus is a Terrestrial Planet. This means that Venus is a rocky body made mostly of rocks and metal. Venus has thousands more volcanoes than Earth does!
SPOTTING AND TRACKING VENUS
Because Venus is one of the brightest objects in the night sky, people have noticed it since the Stone Age. The Babylonians (a civilisation located in the area known today as Iraq), were the first ancient people to carefully observe the planet Venus.
By observation and mathematical calculations, the Babylonians attempted to predict the rising and setting locations of the planet Venus for 21 years. These observations were recorded on a clay tablet called the Tablet of Ammisaduqa. It was created in the 7th century BCE, during the reign of Babylonian king Ammisaduqa. The writing style used in the tablet is called cuneiform - this was one of the earliest types of writing invented.
The ancient Egyptians and Greeks thought that Venus was two separate stars- a morning star and a different evening star. This was because Venus could be clearly seen at these times from Earth. It wasn’t until about 540 BCE when the Greek mathematician Pythagoras realised that the bright morning and evening star was in fact Venus appearing at different times and locations during its orbit around the Sun.
VENUS: PLANET OF LOVE
The Planet Venus is named after the ancient goddess of love. In ancient Rome the goddess of love was called Venus and in Greece she was called Aphrodite. Aphrodite had the power to make people fall in love and her symbols were swans, roses, ducks and sparrows. The planet Venus is the only planet in our Solar System named after a woman.
VENUS BEHIND THE CLOUDS: CREATE YOUR OWN FANTASY POSTER OF VENUS
Because Venus is surrounded with thick clouds, comic book and story writers in the 20th century imagined Venus as a paradise where humans could live, hidden behind these clouds. In many ways, Venus is known to be similar to our planet Earth. Venus is roughly the same size and density as Earth. In fact, many thousands of years ago Venus may have had water on its surface to sustain life. For this reason, the planet Venus has been called Earth’s Sister.
But… Venus has also been called Earth’s Evil Sister! This is because the conditions on Venus are highly toxic. Venus is the hottest planet of our Solar System, with temperatures usually around 417 degrees Celsius- that’s hotter than an oven!
The clouds around Venus consist of sulfuric acid which makes people choke and sulphur (which smells like rotten eggs). These clouds also produce lightning bolts! Lastly, let’s not forget, Venus still has active volcanoes!
VENUS FANTASY POSTER:
Now it’s your turn to draw the Venus of your imagination! What do you think lies beneath the sulfuric acid clouds? Is it a lost paradise where life can be created and human cities built, or a ball of volcanoes and toxic fumes that only the maddest explorers dare to face!?
Draw your Venus Fantasy Poster on a blank piece of paper - add as much detail as you like and share it with us through firstname.lastname@example.org!