The Physics
Factbook
An encyclopedia of scientific essays

Pressure on the Surface of Venus

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Bibliographic Entry Result
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Standardized
Result
Carroll, Bradley W., & Dale W. Ostlie. An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics: Venus. New York: Addison Wesley, 1996. "At the base of the atmosphere … the pressure is 90 atm." 9000 kPa
Encyclopedia of Astronomy and Astrophysics. California: Academic Press, 1989. "… the surface pressure on Venus is about 90 atm, compared with 1 atm for earth." 9000 kPa
Roberge, Aki. The Planets After Formation. 21 April 1998. "It has a dense carbon dioxide atmosphere, with a surface pressure of 90 atmospheres (90 times the Earth's surface pressure)." 9000 kPa
Cole, G.H.A. The Structure of Planets. New York: Crane Russak, 1978. "… the atmospheric pressure is high, about 90 Earth atmospheres." 9000 kPa
Burgess, Eric. Venus: An Errant Twin. New York: Columbia University Press, 1985. "Surface atmospheric pressure, 95 atmospheres, 9,616 kPa" 9616 kPa

Venus, the second planet from the Sun, is the hottest world in the solar system. Because of Venus' extremely thick atmosphere, the planet suffers from a runaway Greenhouse effect. Energy from the Sun passes through the atmosphere to the planet's surface, where it is absorbed and radiated at longer wavelengths as infrared. Venus' atmosphere traps these longer wavelengths so they cannot escape into space. The trapped energy builds up, so the planet grows hotter and hotter.

With a surface temperature of almost 480 °C (900 °C), this place is hot enough to melt lead. Because of Venus' heavy atmosphere, the planet's surface pressure is very high. Pressure is defined as the weight of the atmosphere pressing down on you per unit area. On Earth, we don't notice the air pressure at all. The thick atmosphere on Venus would make it difficult to see objects very far away from you. Since carbon dioxide is poisonous to humans, you would not be able to breathe on Venus.

Although the gravity on Venus is about the same as on Earth, the weight of the atmosphere would crush you. There are always thunderstorms somewhere on the planet, and lightning flashes about 25 times every second somewhere in Venus' atmosphere. The atmospheric pressure at the surface of Venus is about 90 times that of Earth's (90 atm). This atmosphere consists mainly of carbon dioxide, which is a gas that is not breathable. In addition, the clouds of Venus contain drops of sulfuric acid, a poisonous chemical.

Nang Miu -- 2000