Q:

Why is Venus the hottest planet?

A:

Quick Answer

Venus has surface temperatures of up to 900 degrees Fahrenheit because it is much closer to the sun and has a thick, high-pressure atmosphere. When sunlight penetrates the atmosphere of Venus, it does not have the energy to escape efficiently and continues to heat the surface.

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Full Answer

The crushing atmosphere of Venus consists of up to 96 percent carbon dioxide, which is also one of the major greenhouse gases on Earth. Venus also has 90 times the pressure of Earth's atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is a major greenhouse gas because its atomic structure allows it to absorb energy more easily and radiate it slowly, rather than allowing it to pass through unaffected by the toxic conditions on Venus.

Venus' orbit is also much closer to the sun than the Earth's orbit. Solar radiation strikes Earth more diffusely than it does on Venus, which heats Venus more than Earth. Mercury is the closest planet to the sun and gets even more heat than Venus during its day. However, the relative lack of atmosphere on Mercury means that this heat radiates away on the night side and heats up again during the day. These two factors combine to make Venus the hottest planet in the solar system.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Does Venus have an atmosphere?

    A:

    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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  • Q:

    Who discovered Venus?

    A:

    No one knows who discovered Venus because the planet was known to the ancients. Named by the ancient Romans after their goddess of love and beauty, it is one of the brightest objects in the night sky.

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  • Q:

    How was Venus formed?

    A:

    The most widely accepted theory is that the planet Venus was formed through a process called core accretion. In core accretion, gravitational forces draw together dust and particles from space to form a rocky core, which in turn gravitationally captures the lighter elements which compose its atmosphere.

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  • Q:

    What is the hottest planet in the solar system?

    A:

    Venus, the second planet from the sun, is the hottest planet in the solar system, with surface temperatures of around 864 degrees Fahrenheit, and there is no difference between day and night temperatures on Venus, so there is no time of day where temperatures tend to dip. This high temperature, which is hot enough to melt tin and lead, is due in part to the planet's proximity to the sun, though Venus manages to be much hotter than Mercury, which is the closest planet to the sun. Venus' extreme heat can be attributed mostly to its extremely thick atmosphere, which is 93 times thicker than Earth's atmosphere and composed mainly of carbon dioxide.

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