Which is the Hottest Planet in Our Solar System?

The hottest planet in out solar system is Venus with temperature approximately around 462oC. Although Mercury is the closest to the sun, it’s not the hottest planet. Venus is the hottest planet because it is covered by a thick layer of clouds composed of carbon dioxide and other gases, which prevent the heat from the sun from escaping back into outer space.

Spending a relaxing night on the beach with friends, a fire, and some roasted marshmallows is truly priceless. Sitting with friends around the bonfire and just talking about life, college, and everything in between. Essentially, you’re making memories for a lifetime. As night falls, you begin to feel the cold breeze, so you move closer to the bonfire in order to warm up; it’s simple science, right? The closer you are to the fire, the more heat you feel.

As you sit beside the bonfire and look up into the bright night sky, you begin to think about things larger than yourself. In the warmth of the fire, you begin to think: what would it be like to live on other planets? Maybe your next thought is: which is the hottest planet?

Well, like most other people, you probably think that Mercury is the hottest planet in our solar system, as it is the closest planet to the sun, meaning that it will get the most heat from the Sun, as compared to the other planets. If you think that Mercury is the hottest planet, I’m sorry to tell you… but you’re wrong!

In fact, Venus is the hottest planet!

Mercury’s Atmosphere

mercury

Mercury

Mercury’s atmosphere (or should I say, its lack of atmosphere) is the reason why it is not as hot as Venus. Mercury has a very thin layer of atmosphere, so it is unable to hold and trap the heat on its surface. Any heat that Mercury receives from sun is quickly reflected back. However, Mercury is still hot as hell! Temperatures can reach up to 430° Celsius on the sunward side, while the temperature on the side facing away from the Sun can drop to well below -100°C . Talk about running hot and cold!

Venus’ Atmosphere

071127-venus-surface-02

Venus

Venus, on the other hand, has a very thick atmosphere. Its atmosphere is about 90 times denser than that of Earth. Venus’s atmosphere is mainly made up of carbon dioxide gas, which is a major greenhouse gas, which is why the planet suffers from what is known as a runaway greenhouse effect. As its atmosphere absorbs too much carbon dioxide, it does not allow the heat from the sun to escape back into space. As the heat has no where to go, it creates an oven-like condition on the surface of Venus.

The average temperature on Venus is a hellish 462°C. Unlike Mercury, the temperature on Venus always remains constant, with only slight variations. Therefore, the temperature is the same wherever you go on the planet, at the North Pole, at the equator, and at night… it is always the same 462°C.

Venus: The Harshest Planet

Venus and Earth are commonly known as twin planets, due to their similar size, mass, and distance from the Sun. However, Venus and Earth are completely different from each other in other ways, and if they are “twins”, then Venus is definitely the evil one of the pair. Venus has one of the harshest environment in the entire solar system. Because of this hostile environment, many scientists were skeptical about ever exploring Venus, as the spacecraft would be unable to survive the heat of the planet.

Venus surface

Venus surface (artwork)

From 1961 to 1984, the Soviets sent a series of spacecraft called Venera to Venus, but the first few missions were failures. Finally, in 1981, Venera 13 was able to land on the surface of Venus and survived for 127 minutes. In that short period, it was able to send the first color picture of Venus’ surface before the spacecraft was burnt up by the hellish temperature of the planet. I think this makes it quite clear… life has absolutely no possibility of surviving on the hottest planet of our solar system.

References

  1. Planet details – NASA
  2. NASA
  3. Mercury – NASA
  4. Venus – NASA
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About the Author:

Ashwin Vinod has a B.Tech in Electronics and Communications from APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University, Trivandrum (India). He likes to watch movies, reading fiction novels and surf the internet.

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