Our Planets & Solar System

Learn about the planets

Why is Venus Earth’s sister planet?

Venus is often referred to as Earth’s “sister planet” due to their similar size, composition, and proximity to the Sun. Both planets have nearly the same diameter and mass, and they’re made up of similar rocky materials. Venus and Earth also have substantial atmospheres, though Venus’ is far denser and hotter. However, the similarities largely end there.

Venus’ atmosphere is largely composed of carbon dioxide with clouds of sulfuric acid, resulting in a runaway greenhouse effect that makes it the hottest planet in our solar system, despite being second closest to the Sun. Its surface conditions are harsh and inhospitable, contrasting significantly with the life-supporting environment on Earth.

Venus vs Earth

Both planets are terrestrial planets and share some common characteristics.

Despite these similarities, Venus has a very different atmosphere and climate compared to Earth. Venus has a thick atmosphere composed mainly of carbon dioxide with clouds of sulfuric acid, which leads to an extreme greenhouse effect.

This results in surface temperatures that are hot enough to melt lead, averaging around 465°C (870°F), making it the hottest planet in our solar system. The atmospheric pressure at Venus’ surface is also about 90 times greater than Earth’s, which is equivalent to the pressure found at a depth of about 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) underwater on Earth.

  1. Size: Venus is approximately 12,104 kilometers (7,520 miles) in diameter, while Earth has a diameter of about 12,742 kilometers (7,918 miles). This makes their sizes quite similar, with Venus being about 95% the size of Earth.
  2. Mass and density: The mass of Venus is about 4.87 × 10^24 kg, which is roughly 81.5% of Earth’s mass (5.97 × 10^24 kg). The planets also have similar densities, with Earth’s average density being about 5.52 grams per cubic centimeter and Venus’ density being about 5.24 grams per cubic centimeter.
  3. Composition: Both planets are composed primarily of rock and metal. They have solid surfaces and are classified as terrestrial or rocky planets, as opposed to gas giants like Jupiter and Saturn.
  4. Proximity to the Sun: Venus is the second planet from the Sun, while Earth is the third. Venus orbits the Sun at an average distance of about 108.2 million kilometers (67.2 million miles), and Earth orbits at an average distance of about 149.6 million kilometers (93 million miles).

More space mysteries & answers to your questions about the planets!

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    If you are wondering how old the Earth is, the estimated age of the Earth is around 4.54 billion years old give or take a few million years. This age is based on a combination of evidence, including the age of the oldest-known rocks, the age of lunar samples brought back by Apollo missions, and … continue reading.
  • How fast does the Earth spin?
    It’s strange to think that Earth the planet we are living on is continually spinning 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year as it orbits the Sun. One full orbit of the Sun takes a full year and and is the basis for the formation of our calendar. It … continue reading.
Learn about the planets