What Are Some Facts About the Planet Venus?

planet-venus Credit: SCIEPRO/Science Photo Library/Getty Images

Venus is the second planet from the sun in our solar system, with a size and mass similar to that of Earth. It's easy to identify in the night sky because it's the second-brightest object after the moon. It's named after Venus, the Roman goddess of love and beauty.

Despite the romantic origin of its name, Venus is extremely hot, loaded with volcanoes and has bone-crushing atmospheric pressure. With a scorching surface temperature of 462 degrees Celsius (864 degrees Fahrenheit), Venus is the hottest planet in the solar system. Venus' atmosphere contains so much carbon dioxide gas, the planet traps enough heat to make its surface hot enough to melt lead. Even though Mercury is far closer to the sun, Venus is actually hotter.

Venus has more volcanoes than any other planet in the solar system: about 1600, astronomers believe, with many more too small to be seen from Earth. The vast majority are inactive, but a handful might still erupt from time to time.

Not only would humans have a tough time surviving in Venus' high-pressure atmosphere, even small meteors can't make it through. They get crushed into dust by Venus' atmospheric pressure, which is 92 times greater than that of Earth. That's the equivalent pressure to being under a half-mile of ocean water.