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This is an artist's rendition of a column of clouds on Venus. The temperature of the different layers is shown at the left.
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Air on Venus

The atmosphere of Venus is very hot and thick. You would not survive a visit to the surface of the planet - you couldn't breathe the air, you would be crushed on by the enormous weight of the atmosphere, and you would burn up in surface temperatures high enough to melt lead.


The atmosphere of Venus is made up mainly of carbon dioxide, and thick clouds of sulfuric acid completely cover the planet. The atmosphere traps the small amount of energy from the sun that does reach the surface along with the heat the planet itself releases. This greenhouse effect has made the surface and lower atmosphere of Venus one of the hottest places in the solar system!

Why should Venus and not the Earth have a hot and thick atmosphere? Some scientists call it the Goldilocks phenomenon.


Last modified May 19, 2009 by Randy Russell.

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