Does Venus Have an Atmosphere?


Quick Answer

The planet Venus has a thick, dense atmosphere made up almost entirely of carbon dioxide. Though Venus is farther from the sun than Mercury, its surface is actually hotter because the atmosphere traps the heat like a giant, planetary greenhouse.

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Full Answer

Because Mercury has no atmosphere, its temperature varies enormously depending on where it is measured. Mercury experiences temperatures ranging from 426 degrees Celsius on the side facing the sun, all the way down to minus 173 degrees Celsius on the shaded side. The temperature on the surface of Venus is an average of 462 degrees Celsius, and varies little regardless of where it is measured, because all of the heat is trapped by the cloud cover and dispersed by the 220-mph winds that constantly stir the atmosphere.

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