MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Venus. Artwork of a crescent Venus and the Sun (bottom right). Venus is the second planet out from the Sun, orbiting it at a distance of around 108 million kilometres. Venus has a diameter of 12, 100 kilometres (only 700 kilometres less than Earth's) and around 81% of Earth's mass. The surface is obscured by deep and dense cloud layers. The clouds are primarily composed of concentrated sulphuric acid. The atmospheric pressure at the surface is some 95 times that on Earth. The clouds maintain a "runaway greenhouse effect" on Venus, and its surface temperature is over 500 degrees Celsius, making it the hottest planet in the Solar System.
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