Venus was once considered a twin of Earth. With nearly the same mass and radius as the Earth, and at nearly the same distance from the sun as the Earth early Astronomers made the seemingly logical assumption that how could anything so similar be very different from our own home.
Venus' Clouds Credit: NASA, Mattias Malmer
Venus is named after the Roman god of love and has taken many names over the ages, the morning or evening star as it is often at its brightest just before dawn and just after dusk. Venus can be the brightest object in the night sky apart from the moon and the sun of course. Like the moon Venus emits no light, it only shines by reflecting the light of the sun like the moon, so Venus only appears so bright in our sky because of its proximity to the Earth (depending on the position of the two planets in their orbits, the distance ranges between 38 and 261 million kilometres) rather than its absolute magnitude (inherent brightness).
It is the second planet out from the sun, and as it is between the sun and the Earth it never seems to venture ...