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How Many Moons Does Venus Have?

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The solar system consists of the Sun, eight planets along with their moons, gravitationally rounded objects, five dwarf planets, some minor planets, comets and asteroids. All the planets orbits around the sun. The solar system was formed 4.6 billion years ago. It formed due to the gravitational collapse of a huge interstellar molecular cloud. The sun has the largest mass in the solar system, followed by the planet Jupiter. In the solar system, the four smaller inner planets are Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars. They are called the terrestrial planets. These planets are composed of metal and rock. The four outer planets are bigger than these planets, they are Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Jupiter and Saturn are the gas giants and are composed of helium and hydrogen. Uranus and Neptune are ice giants. They are composed of substances with relatively high melting points compared with helium and hydrogen called volatiles, like methane, water and ammonia. All the eight planets have almost circular orbits, which lie within a nearly flat disc called the ecliptic.

Venus is the second planet from the Sun. It orbits every 224.7 Earth days. In the Solar System it is the only planet, which has the longest rotational period of 243 Earth days. It rotates in the opposite direction to all other planets. It means that the Sun rises in the west and sets in the east. It does not have any moon or natural satellites.  The planet Venus, is named after a Roman Goddess of beauty and love. During the night, planet Venus can be seen in the sky, glowing brightly. It has an apparent magnitude of -4.6, which is bright enough to cast shadows at night. It orbits within the orbit of the earth. The angular distance of Venus from the Sun is 47.8 degree. Venus is called the sister planet of Earth. It is called so as both Venus and Earth have same size, mass, bulk composition and proximity to the Sun. It has the most dense atmosphere out of the four terrestrial planets. The atmosphere has more than 96 % carbon dioxide. The atmospheric pressure at the surface of Venus is 92 times that of Earth, or approximately the pressure found at 3000 ft. or 900m underwater on Earth. Venus is the hottest planet in the Solar System, despite Mercury being closer to Sun. It has a mean temperature of 462 ℃ or 863 ℉ or 735 K. Venus is covered in an opaque layer of highly reflective clouds of sulfuric acid. That opaque layer, prevents the surface from being seen from the space in visible light. Venus is thought to have had water oceans in the past, but the water bodies would have vaporized as the temperature rose due to a runaway greenhouse effect. The water has probably photo dissociated, and the free hydrogen has been swept into the interplanetary space by the solar wind as there is no magnetic fields in the planet. The surface of Venus is dry and the landscape is like that of desert. It has slab like rocks and has volcanic eruptions. Venus is sacred in many cultures. Many poets and writers refer it as morning star and evening star. It has been a source of inspiration to many creative writer. It was probably the first planet to have its path plotted across the sky during the second millennium BC. Venus has been the prime target for early interplanetary exploration. Venus was the first planet visited by a spacecraft called Mariner 2 in the year 1962. In the year 1970, Venera 7 landed successfully on the thick clouds of Venus. Due to the thick clouds , observation of the surface was impossible in visible light , hence a detailed map was not made. A detailed map was made with the help of the Magellan orbiter in the year 1991. Due to the hostile surface conditions, proposal for rovers and more complex missions were not possible. The diameter of Venus is 12103.6 km. It is 638.4 km less than the diameter of the Earth. The mass of Venus is 81.5% that of Earth. The atmosphere of Venus is dense consisting of 96.5% of carbon dioxide and 3.5% of nitrogen.

 Venus does not have any moons. The reason is that any moon orbiting Venus would be in an unstable orbit and would most likely be swallowed by the mammoth gravitational pull of the Sun. The absence of moons around Venus is mostly due to the proximity of Venus to the Sun. Being closer to Earth means, Venus receives highest solar radiation and experiences a very high gravitational pull from the Sun. Gravitational law follows the inverse square law. That means that closer the two objects are, the higher the gravitational force between them. Sun being a humongous star, the sun has a huge amount of mass, which further accentuates the force with which it pulls other celestial bodies. Mercury and Venus do not have any moons as they are very close to the Sun to have a reasonable gravitational influence of their own on a neighboring celestial body. A moon that is far away from the planet would be in an unstable orbit, and would be consequently pulled in and captured by the Sun. It would be pulled into its very high gravitational pull. Again, if the orbiting moon were very close to the planet, then the strong tidal forces of the planet would tear the moon apart. The moon would lose energy due to atmospheric friction and crash into the planet. The region around Venus where a moon could potentially orbit is very narrow that no celestial body was ever captured within it. Astronomers believe that Venus had a moon in the past. One hypothesis, proposed by Alex Alemi and David Stevenson of the California Institute of Technology in 2006, claims that in the early days of the formation of the Solar System, Venus might have been bombarded by many asteroids, which released large quantities of ejecta into the orbit of the Venus.

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