Venus is the second planet from the Sun and is known as the jewel of the sky. It is the sixth largest planet and has an orbit more circular than any other planet. The eccentricity is measured to be less than 1%. The orbit extends to 108,200,000 kilometers (0.72 AU) from the Sun and has a diameter of 12,103.6 kilometers. It has a mass of 4.869 x 1024 kilograms.
The planet, being so close to the Earth is one of the brightest objects in the sky (besides the Sun and the Moon) and has been observed all the way to prehistoric times. At one point in its history, Venus was thought to be two separate bodies, Eosphorus (the morning star) and Hesperus (the evening star). It is named after the goddess of love and beauty probably because it is the brightest planet seen in the ancient times.
Historically, Venus has been evidence toward Copernicus's heliocentric theory due to its visible phases when observed from Earth. The discovery ofthe Galilean moons of Jupiter was also a favorable discovery toward the theory. However, Galileo was jailed for his findings due to the strong belief in the geocentric theory.
- Introduction to Venus