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Venus is the second planet from the Sun and the sixth largest. On June 8 2004, Venus will pass directly between the Earth and the Sun, appearing as a large black dot travelling across the Sun's disk. This event is known as a "transit of Venus" and is very rare: the last one was in 1882, the next one is in 2012 but after than you'll have to wait until 2117. While no longer of great scientific importance as it was in the past, this event will be the impetus for a major journey for many amateur astronomers.

Venus (Greek: Aphrodite; Babylonian: Ishtar) is the goddess of love and beauty. The planet is so named probably because it is the brightest of the planets known to the ancients. (With a few exceptions, the surface features on Venus are named for female figures.)

Venus has been known since prehistoric times. It is the brightest object in the sky except for the Sun and the Moon. Like Mercury, it was popularly thought to be two separate bodies: Eosphorus as the morning star and Hesperus as the evening star, but the Greek astronomers knew better.

Since Venus is an inferior planet, it shows phases when viewed with a telescope from the perspective of Earth. Galileo's observation of this phenomenon was important evidence in favor of Copernicus's heliocentric theory of the solar system.

The first spacecraft to visit Venus was Mariner 2 in 1962. It was subsequently visited by many others (more than 20 in all so far), including Pioneer Venus and the Soviet Venera 7 the first spacecraft to land on another planet, and Venera 9 which returned the first photographs of the surface. Most recently, the orbiting US spacecraft Magellan produced detailed maps of Venus' surface using radar.

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Venus is the second planet from the Sun and the sixth largest. On June 8 2004, Venus will pass directly between the Earth and the Sun, appearing as a large black dot travelling across the Sun's disk. This event is known as a "transit of Venus" and is very rare: the last one was in 1882, the next one is in 2012 but after than you'll have to wait until 2117. While no longer of great scientific importance as it was in the past, this event will be the impetus for a major journey for many amateur astronomers.

Venus (Greek: Aphrodite; Babylonian: Ishtar) is the goddess of love and beauty. The planet is so named probably because it is the brightest of the planets known to the ancients. (With a few exceptions, the surface features on Venus are named for female figures.)

Venus has been known since prehistoric times. It is the brightest object in the sky except for the Sun and the Moon. Like Mercury, it was popularly thought to be two separate bodies: Eosphorus as the morning star and Hesperus as the evening star, but the Greek astronomers knew better.

Since Venus is an inferior planet, it shows phases when viewed with a telescope from the perspective of Earth. Galileo's observation of this phenomenon was important evidence in favor of Copernicus's heliocentric theory of the solar system.

The first spacecraft to visit Venus was Mariner 2 in 1962. It was subsequently visited by many others (more than 20 in all so far), including Pioneer Venus and the Soviet Venera 7 the first spacecraft to land on another planet, and Venera 9 which returned the first photographs of the surface. Most recently, the orbiting US spacecraft Magellan produced detailed maps of Venus' surface using radar. More...

 
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