This means that Venus is even hotter than Mercury. The result is a “runaway greenhouse effect that has caused the planet’s temperature to soar to 465°C, hot enough to melt lead”. Carbon dioxide traps most of the Sun’s heat. The cloud layers also act like a mantle.
Why is Venus the hottest planet and not Mercury?
The United States, the Soviet Union, the European Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency have deployed many spacecraft to Venus, more than 20 so far. Venus is the second planet from the sun and has a temperature that stays at 462 degrees Celsius, no matter where you are on the planet. Venus Express survived the daring journey and then moved to a higher orbit, where it spent several months. This thick atmosphere makes the surface of Venus warmer because heat does not escape into space.
This has allowed life to thrive on Earth because the temperature is perfect enough to allow liquid water, which is believed to be one of the key elements for life on a planet. Since Venus is named after a Greek goddess, many of the areas of Venus discovered also have female names, but others do not.
Why isn’t Mercury the hottest?
Although it is not the hottest planet, it ranks a respectable second, even without an atmosphere. This is because it has a very thin atmosphere that cannot retain the heat the planet receives from the Sun. On its dark side, Mercury gets very cold because it has almost no atmosphere to retain the heat and keep the surface warm. On the other hand, Venus has an extremely thick atmosphere, which means that not only is it an extremely reflective planet (I’ll explain why in the next reason), but it is also able to trap heat within its atmosphere, which allows it to further increase the planet’s surface temperature.
Much of the heat that Mercury receives from the sun is quickly lost to space, while Venus’ heat does not escape.
What are the two reasons Venus is the hottest planet?
The unusual streaks in the upper clouds of Venus are called blue absorbers or ultraviolet absorbers because they strongly absorb light in the blue and ultraviolet wavelengths. Venus’ thick atmosphere traps most of the solar heat received, increasing its temperature by the greenhouse effect. With conditions on Venus that could be described as hellish, the ancient name Venus Lucifer seems to fit. This has led some to suspect that if microbes can, in fact, create phosphine, then perhaps microbes could be responsible for the phosphine in Venus’ atmosphere.
Since Mercury lacks a dense atmosphere, it reflects most of the solar energy received back into space. After the lighter gases were carried away by the solar wind during Venus’ evolution, the remnants of carbon dioxide and nitrogen dominated its atmosphere. Most man-made materials would quickly melt away on Venus, and a human mission to Venus is nothing more than a pipe dream at this time.