Early views about Venus

Venus is the brightest planet as seen from Earth. At certain times of the year it can be seen in the evening sky just after sunset; at other times of the year it appears to rise in the east just before sunrise.

Venus was well known to the ancient Greeks and Romans because of its brightness in the night sky, but the Greeks believed Venus to be two different objects: Phosphorus as the morning star, and Hesperos as the evening star.

To the ancient Romans, Venus was the goddess of love and beauty. (Venus is the only planet named after a goddess.) Venus is very bright as seen from Earth because its covering of dense clouds reflects over three-quarters of the sunlight received by the planet. These clouds completely hide the surface of the planet from view.

Table 5.1 Details of Venus

Distance from Sun

108 200 000 km (0.72 AU)


12 104 km


4.87 x 1024 kg (0.82 times Earth's mass)


5.25 g/cm3 or 5250 kg/m3

Orbital eccentricity

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