This picture shows the northern hemisphere of Venus. It was made using radar. It shows how the surface of Venus might look if we could see through the thick atmosphere. The North Pole is at the center of the picture. The bright area below the center is Maxwell Montes, the highest mountain chain on Venus.
Click on image for full size
Image courtesy of NASA/JPL.
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 doesn't have any oceans. It does have two large areas of high ground. Scientists call the raised areas "continents". One continent is near the North Pole. It is called Ishtar Terra. Ishtar Terra is about as big as Australia. The highest mountain range on Venus is on Ishtar Terra. The mountains are called Maxwell Montes. They are about 11 km (6.6 miles) high. That is a little bit taller than Mount Everest on Earth.
Venus isn't tilted on its axis very much. Earth is tilted about 23°. Venus is only tilted 3°. That means there are no seasons on Venus. It is pretty much the same temperature all year round on Venus... hot!
The atmosphere above the poles of Venus is strange. A "vortex" (plural: vortices) is a swirling mass of air and clouds... like a tornado or a hurricane. There are two vortices in the atmosphere above each of the poles of Venus!
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
on science education, classroom activities in The Earth Scientist
specimens, and educational games
You might also be interested in:
What types of instructional experiences help K-8 students learn science with understanding? What do science educators teachers, teacher leaders, science specialists, professional development staff, curriculum designers, school administrators need to know to create and support such experiences?...more
Ishtar Terra is one of the two main continents of Venus, and is found near the north pole. Ishtar Terra is about the size of the United States. Ishtar Terra contains the four main mountain ranges of Venus....more
The four main mountain ranges of Venus are named Maxwell Montes, Frejya Montes, Akna Montes, and Danu Montes. These are found on Ishtar Terra. Mountain ranges are formed by the folding and buckling of...more
The Earth is rotating around an axis (called its rotational axis). Some objects rotate about a horizontal axis, like a rolling log. Some objects, such as a skater, rotate about a vertical axis. The Earth's...more
During the year, the seasons change from winter to spring to summer to fall. Why does it happen? Seasons depend on the Sun! The seasons happen as the Earth, travels in a loop around the Sun each year....more
Tornadoes form from severe thunderstorms. They are very destructive because they have a high energy density. They also don't last very long. This makes it hard to learn about them. Since scientists don't...more
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,...more
This is a map of the surface of Venus (turned sideways!). As can be seen on the map, there is no ocean, but there are highlands and lowlands. Lowlands in the map can be thought of as like the ocean bottom,...more