What are the distinguishing characteristics of Venus?

1 Answer
Sep 28, 2015

Hottest planet in the solar system with very dense and thick atmosphere of CO2 thanks to an extreme runaway greenhouse effect


Venus' special qualities compared to Earth:

A great compilation of facts about Venus: http://www.space.com/44-venus-second-planet-from-the-sun-brightest-planet-in-solar-system.html

Much of Venus' high temperature and unique atmosphere is thought to be because of a runaway greenhouse effect: a self-feeding cycle of atmospheric CO2 trapping solar radiation as heat on the planet:

--> raising the temperature
--> boiling away all water (which stored carbon away from the atmosphere and prevented it from trapping heat)
--> releasing more CO2 into the atmosphere
--> trapping more heat
--> until there's an equilibrium between how much heat can escape vs stay trapped on the planet (at a toasty 730 Kelvin surface temperature)