What is the Hottest Planet in the solar system? A Surprising Answer!
What is the hottest planet? Naturally, whatever planet lies closest to the Sun should have the highest temperatures, right? Therefore, shouldn’t Mercury be the warmest in the solar system? Actually, Venus, second planet from the Sun is by far the hottest planet.
Why is Venus the hottest planet in the solar system?
Indeed, being close to the Sun (67 million miles) is partially to blame for Venus’ burning temperatures. After all, that is 28% closer to our Sun than Earth.
However, Venus’ atmosphere truly causes the planet’s heat wave. Primarily, because its atmosphere consists of 97% carbon dioxide (CO2). And, as we know on Earth, this gas causes the infamous greenhouse effect.
Venus: The permanent greenhouse world
Basically, greenhouse effect occurs when radiation (light) passes through a clear medium (like glass). Ultimately, shorter wavelengths, like visible light easily pass through. However, longer wavelengths, like infrared heat are unable to pass through, becoming trapped.
Actually, we also experience this same effect when our car windows are rolled up on a hot summer day.
Similarly, light hits Venus and heats up the surface. Next, the surface tries to radiate the heat back out into space. However, the heat now remains trapped, unable to pass through the thick carbon dioxide atmosphere!
As a result, no matter what time of day, month or year, Venus swelters at a whopping 870º F! In other words, lead would melt on Venus’ surface at any given time!
Venus used to be like Earth!
Surprisingly, astronomers believe Venus was once quite similar to Earth. In fact, they believe Venus’ surface even hosted liquid water! What happened?
Billions of years ago, Venus began heating up. Eventually, all surface water evaporated into the planet’s atmosphere. Not to mention, water vapor is also a powerful greenhouse agent!
Ultimately, Venus became so hot that even the carbon in the planet’s rocks and dirt evaporated into the atmosphere, mixing with oxygen to create even more carbon dioxide!
Then, over time Venus became the runaway greenhouse heater that it is today. The planet hosts our solar system’s most hostile heat, and unbearable pressures. Even being second from the Sun!