Wednesday, October 09, 2002

Again, I was surfing at a webpage called "Astronomy Picture of the Day." This time I was looking at the image of Venus. It is said that it is perpetually covered by thick clouds and that it remains hidden even from the telescopic eyes of earthbound astronomers. Yet the image I was looking at was taken by the spacecraft Magellan orbiting Venus. Using an imaging radar, spacecraft Magellan was able to give a detailed picture of the planet named after the Goddess of love and beauty. Science and technology is truely amazing.

Venus is the second planet from the sun, and the sixth largest. It was named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty probably because it is the brightest of the planets known in ancient times, second only in brightness to the moon and the sun. It was thought to be two different stars, the morning star (Eospherus) and the evening star (Hesperus).

It was considered to be earth's sister planet because of its size, just a little smaller than the earth, and because it has less craters than other planets. However, it is a hostile planet composed mainly of carbon dioxide. Its gas clouds create a greenhouse effect which makes the planet so hot that it reaches 400 to 740,000 degrees of temperature.

Yes, even among the planets, beauty may only be superficial.

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