Sunday, October 12, 2008

I'm Your Venus

O.K., Once again I admit, my punacious titles could be better. Anyway, on we go through our solar system hitting the second? (more explanation on the question mark next solar system post) planet in our system. Venus. Named after the goddess of beauty for its beautiful star-like appearance in the sky. If you've ever marveled at a really really bright star in the early morning (even after the sun begins to come up) or early evening, you've probably have looked at Venus. Unfortunately, you can't see Venus right now.

Venus is weird in that a year on Venus is equal to 225 Earth years. Pretty cool that you would have your birthday more often. The weird thing is that a day on Venus (sunrise to sunrise) would last for 243 Earth days. That's right. Venus's day last longer than its year. See, it spins REALLY slow. As a result, it gets REALLY hot. During the daytime it gets up to 890° - that's hot enough to melt lead (for those of you who forgot your science class learning). Unlike Mercury, nighttime isn't much better because those clouds that are always present and reflect the sunlight to make this planet so bright and beautiful to us traps the heat in. we're talking global warming from Hades.

It rotates backwards (or as one of my students said, "how do we know that it's just not the only planet to spin in the right direction). Now, I assume time goes backwards here because if you remember the Christopher Reeve Superman movie, all he had to do to make time go backwards is fly around Earth backwards so many times that it began to spin backwards.

The Romans weren't the only one to name it after a deity of beauty:
  • Ishtar (Babylonian goddess of beauty)
  • Lucifer (Christian view of Satan as bright and morning star (but only as seen in the morning)
  • Inanna (Sumerian queen goddess - she can rain fire, pretty appropriate for the actual Venus)
  • The Aztecs and Mayans were scared of the light from Venus and made copious sacrifices when Venus was in the morning sky
Next - Venus doesn't have a moon...does it?

No comments: