MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Animated model of the structure of Venus. Venus is the second planet from the Sun, and is the second largest of the rocky terrestrial planets, after Earth. Venus's surface is obscured by it's thick, dense atmosphere (first layer peeled away). This is mostly composed of carbon dioxide, with clouds of sulphuric acid. The atmosphere is so dense that at surface level the pressure is more than 90 times that at sea level on Earth. The surface itself (orange and white) has a temperature of nearly 500 degrees Celsius, and it is largely formed of volcanoes, lava plains, and several structures unique to Venus. It shows evidence of only large impact craters, as small meteorites would burn up in the atmosphere. Little is known of the exact composition of Venus's interior, but it is thought a thick mantle (dark orange) underlies the crust, with a hotter iron-nickel core (yellow) at its centre. Venus lacks a magentic field, indicating that convection around this core has ceased. Venus orbits the Sun at an average distance of around 108 million kilometres, some 72% of the Earth-Sun distance.
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