Venus is the second planet in our solar system. In is approximately the same size of Earth, but it has a dense atmosphere of carbon dioxide and a small amount of Nitrogen. It is an example of global warming gone wild. Because of its atmosphere and its closer proximity to the sun, the temperature on Venus is over 460 degrees (C). There are active scientific programs investigating Venus.
Scientists don't expect to find intelligent life as we know it on Venus because of Venus' high temperature and dense atmosphere with little or no oxygen. However, primitive life on earth has been found in strange places, so who knows what exists on Venus. Venus and Earth are sometimes referred to as "sister" planets, due to their similar size, gravity, and composition. For reasons unknown to scientists, the two planets took different evolutionary paths, and today they are different from each other. Scientists are studying Venus to gain a greater understanding of how planets were formed in the Cosmos, and to understand why Venus is different from Earth.
Science articles about Venus.
'"Although the air over the polar regions in these upper atmospheric layers on Venus was colder than the air over the equator in most measurements, occasionally it appeared to be warmer," said Dr. Theodor Kostiuk of NASA Goddard. "In Earth's atmosphere, a circulation pattern called a 'Hadley cell' occurs when warm air rises over the equator and flows toward the poles, where it cools and sinks. Since the atmosphere is denser closer to the surface, the descending air gets compressed and warms the upper atmosphere over Earth's poles. We saw the opposite on Venus. In addition, although the surface temperature is fairly even, we've seen substantial changes -- up to 54 degrees Fahrenheit (about 30 K change) -- within a few Earth days in the mesosphere -- thermosphere layers over low latitudes on Venus. The poles appeared to be more stable, but we still saw changes up to 27 degrees Fahrenheit (about 15 K change)."'
The arc of Venus as seen by NASA's TRACE spacecraft in 2004. Credit: NASA/Trace/LMSAL This is where the Arc of Venus comes in. The brightness of the arc reveals the temperature and density structure of Venus's middle atmosphere, or "mesosphere," where the sunlight is refracted. According to some models, the mesosphere is key to the physics of super-rotation. By analyzing the lightcurve of the arc, researchers can figure out the temperature and density of this critical layer from pole to pole.