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Venus and Mercury. The Inner Planets. Venus. Only a bit smaller than Earth Nearest planet (26 million miles) Shows phases as it orbits the Sun Most circular orbit Atmosphere mostly Carbon Dioxide 90 times as dense as Earth Runaway Greenhouse Effect Surface Temperature 450 C (850 F).

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venus
Venus
  • Only a bit smaller than Earth
  • Nearest planet (26 million miles)
  • Shows phases as it orbits the Sun
  • Most circular orbit
  • Atmosphere mostly Carbon Dioxide
    • 90 times as dense as Earth
    • Runaway Greenhouse Effect
    • Surface Temperature 450 C (850 F)
venus odd rotation
Venus’ Odd Rotation
  • Venus Rotates in 243 days relative to the stars
  • Longer than its year (225 days)
  • Solar Day = 117 days
  • You can jog as fast as Venus rotates
  • Opposite to all other planets’ rotation (retrograde)
  • Why?
    • Mega-Impact?
    • Tidal Effects?
    • Possible tidal lock on Earth?
venus differs from earth in one important way
Venus Differs from Earth in One Important Way:
  • Venus has no Plate Tectonics
  • Earth’s internal heat causes hot material to rise within Earth and plates to move
  • Venus’ crust is too rigid
  • Heat builds up and escapes in planet-wide volcanic activity
  • Last event about 600 million years ago
why venus has no plate tectonics
Why Venus Has No Plate Tectonics
  • It’s Hot! We’d expect hot rocks to be less rigid, not more!
  • But it’s also dry! Dry rocks are ten times stronger at high temperatures than wet rocks.
  • Earth is wet. That affects not just the outside, but the inside as well.
did venus once have oceans
Did Venus Once Have Oceans?
  • Resurfacing means no visible trace of early history
  • Deuterium: Ghost of a Vanished Ocean?
    • Deuterium is hydrogen with one neutron
    • Twice as heavy as normal hydrogen
    • Less likely to escape
    • D/H on Venus 100x that of Earth
  • Photodissociation + Stripping
    • Venus lacks magnetic field
venus and the da vinci code
Venus and the Da Vinci Code
  • 13 Venus years = 13 x 224.7 = 2921.1 days
  • 8 Earth Years = 8 x 365.25 = 2922 days
  • 5 Synodic periods of Earth and Venus = 5 x 583.9 = 2919.5 days
  • 1/5 of a circle = 72 degrees
  • In 583.9 days, Earth moves 360 + 215.5 degrees (almost 360 + 3 x 72)
  • In 583.9 days, Venus moves 720 + 215.5 degrees
venus and earth
Venus and Earth
  • 13 Venus years = 13 x 224.7 = 2921.1 days
  • 8 Earth Years = 8 x 365.25 = 2922 days
  • 5 Synodic periods of Earth and Venus = 5 x 583.9 = 2919.5 days
  • 12 Venus rotations = 2916 days
  • Venus shows nearly the same face to Earth every 584 days.
mercury
Mercury
  • Closest planet to Sun
  • Very elliptical orbit (e = .205)
  • Only 3000 miles (5000 km) in diameter
  • Rotation locked to Sun: 3 rotations in 2 orbits (58 days)
  • Moon-like on the outside (craters)
  • Earth-like on the inside (dense core, magnetic field)
mercury s interior
Mercury’s Interior
  • Density = 5.43 (Earth = 5.5)
  • Much smaller than Earth, less pressure inside
  • Core about 2/3 of Mercury’s diameter (Earth = ½)
  • Mega-Impact may have blown away silicate outer part
mercury has craters
Mercury has Craters
  • Not as dense as on Moon
  • Most of Mercury covered with lava plains (intercrater plains)
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