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Science, Evolution, and Creationism, by the National Academies, focuses on teaching evolution in today's classrooms. Check out the other publications in our online store.
This graphic shows the orbits of Mercury and Venus within the orbit of the Earth, and the maximum angular distance between these planets and the Sun as viewed from the Earth
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of NASA.

Bright Star at Sunrise

Venus and Mercury, the planets closest to the Sun, always appear pretty close to the Sun in the sky.


Mercury is so small and so close to the Sun that it is really hard to see from Earth. Usually, it is lost in the Sun's bright sunshine. Mercury can sometimes be seen with your own eyes at sunrise or sunset, very low in the sky, near the horizon.


Venus can get farther away from the Sun, as seen from Earth, than Mercury, so that it is easier to see in the sky. It can be seen just before sunrise or just after sunset as a bright morning or evening star. At these times, Venus is much brighter than the brightest star, Sirius, and can even cast shadows.


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Venus Inside and On Top

Venus is the second planet from the Sun, and is Earth's closest neighbor in the solar system. Venus is the brightest object in the sky after the Sun and the Moon, and sometimes looks like a bright star...more

History of Venus Transits

Sometimes the planet Venus goes between Earth and the Sun. From Earth it looks like a black dot moves across the Sun. Astronomers call this a transit of Venus. Transits of Venus don't happen very often....more

Transits of Venus

Sometimes the planet Venus gets between Earth and the Sun. When it does, we see a black dot move across the Sun. The black dot is Venus. Astronomers have a name for this. They call it a "transit"...more

The Poles of Venus

Venus is the hottest planet in our Solar System. On Earth, places near the equator are hot. Places near the poles are cold. On Venus, it is really hot everywhere... even at the North and South Poles. Venus...more

The Polar Atmosphere of Venus

A vortex is a swirling, circular movement of air and clouds... like in a tornado or hurricane. The plural form of vortex is "vortices". The planet Venus has vortices in its atmosphere above each of its...more

The Cooling of Venus

The following may be the history of Venus. at the conclusion of forming it continued to be hit with leftover material. Venus warmed from inside, and separated into layers. Because Venus is close to the...more

Venus Tick

This is an example of a volcanic tick. ...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF