Scientists have finally managed to discover exactly how long a day is on Venus, a very important achievement since, although it may seem incredible to us, until recently we still weren’t entirely clear about it. We knew an estimated figure, but it was not confirmed, and therefore it had no absolute validity.
I understand that this will have generated doubts for more than one of our readers, who will be thinking how it is possible that being so close to Earth, counting on all the technological means that we have today at our disposal, and being considered as a «brother far away ”from our planet, we still did not know precisely how long a day lasted on Venus. Do not worry, it has a very simple explanation, and it is in the very nature of that planet.
Some time ago we shared with you this article dedicated to reviewing ten curiosities about Venus. In one of its sections we talked about the duration of a day on Venus, and we told you that it was equivalent, approximately, to 243 Earth days. This figure was, as we anticipated, an estimate based on numerous studies, but it was not confirmed, and is that due to its dense atmosphere Any study focused on this planet is especially complex, and requires an extra effort to be confirmed.
One day on Venus equals 243.0226 Earth days
That is the exact figure established with millimeter precision, thanks to a group of researchers from the University of California, who invested nothing more and nothing less than 15 years in Venus observation and research work to determine such important aspects as:
- The length of a day on Venus.
- The inclination of its axis.
- The size of its nucleus.
Researchers have concluded that Venus has a terribly slow rotational speed, and that this explains why the days are so long. They have also confirmed that rotates in the opposite direction to Earth, and that the speed at which it rotates changes over time, which makes the duration of a day it can vary by up to 20 minutes. The latter also made obtaining a fully accurate and reliable measurement tremendously difficult, and explains the discrepancies that were obtained in earlier measurements.
According to experts, the dense and strange atmosphere that Venus has could be responsible for this abnormal behavior in its rotation cycle, in fact said atmosphere rotates much faster than the planet itself, which could have an impact on the rotation process of this planet.
We already know how long a day lasts on Venus, and we also know other interesting details about our neighbor, such as that its nucleus has about 3,500 kilometers in diameter and which is very similar to that of Earth, although we are not clear if it is fully solidified or in a magmatic state. Its tilt axis also deserves a special mention, and is that it is only 2.64 degrees, a minimum deviation that is to blame for on Venus there are no different seasons, as on Earth.
On a personal basis, I think Venus is the most fascinating planet of the entire solar system. Today it is a real hell with an atmosphere so dense that walking on its surface would be almost like moving in a pool of water, with the particularity that it would be above 400 degrees, and it would be highly corrosive.
However, despite this high hostility, and all the differences that it presents in front of the Earth, its similarities call my attention, and the fact that is in the habitable zone of our solar system. Was Venus, at some point, a habitable paradise like Earth? It is something that we cannot rule out, and if so, what made Venus turn into the hell that it is today?
All of the above leads us to another great question, Could Venus harbor life? It is impossible to give a minimally reliable answer, and it is clear that we will not be able to do so until it is possible to investigate in depth the surface of that planet, something that is almost impossible today due to the extreme conditions to which we have referred.