Did You Know?

Despite Mercury being the closest planet to the Sun, Venus is the warmest planet.

Despite Mercury being the closest planet to the Sun, Venus is the warmest planet.

We have eight planets in our solar system, each one circling the sun at a different distance. Earth is the third planet and we are in what is called the ‘Goldilocks Zone’. That means we aren’t too hot and we aren’t too cold; we are just right. This has allowed life to thrive on earth because the temperature is perfect enough to allow liquid water, which is believed to be one of the key elements to have life on a planet. You can’t tell the temperature of a planet by just looking at it, but you could make a guess at which one is the hottest.

Mars is reddish color and some people might have guessed that Mars is the hottest planet in the solar system. But just because it’s red, doesn’t make it the hottest. Mercury is the planet that is closest to the sun and therefore gets more direct heat, but even it isn’t the hottest. Venus is the second planet from the sun and has a temperature that is maintained at 462 degrees Celsius, no matter where you go on the planet. It is the hottest planet in the solar system.

So what makes Venus hotter than Mercury? Mercury doesn’t have any atmosphere, and atmosphere can hold and trap heat. Any heat that Mercury receives from the sun is quickly lost back into space. Venus is very close to the actual size of earth and viewing it has been difficult due to a very thick atmosphere of carbon dioxide. This thick atmosphere makes the surface of Venus hotter because the heat doesn’t escape back into space. The atmosphere on Venus is so powerful that the pressure would be ninety-two times more than what you would experience standing on a beach at sea level.

Venus has what is called a runaway greenhouse effect. It’s a never ending cycle of heat being trapped inside due to the rising carbon dioxide levels. This is what happens when an atmosphere absorbs too much carbon dioxide: the heat has nowhere to go. As the temperature rises it effects the entire planet, creeping deep into the depths of the core.


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