Venus and Earth are similar in size, mass, density, composition, and gravity. But the similarities end here. Venus is covered with dense, rapidly rotating atmosphere with temperatures high enough to melt lead and pressure 90 times higher than on Earth. Because of its proximity to Earth and the way its clouds reflect sunlight, Venus is the brightest planet in the sky.

The Venus atmosphere consists mainly of carbon dioxide and clouds of sulfuric acid. Only trace amounts of water can be detected in the atmosphere. The thick atmosphere traps the sun heat, which results in surface temperatures more than 470 degrees Celsius (880 degrees Fahrenheit).

To orbit the Sun Venus needs 225 days. Venus rotates retrograde, from east to west and its day is about 117 Earth days. Seen from Venus, the sun would rise from the west and set in the east. The upper layers of the atmosphere are moving in hurricane speed of about 360 km (224 miles) per hour. At the surface the winds are estimated to be just a few kilometers per hour.

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