The Color of Venus

Planets have their specific colors as a cause of the materials that they are made up of and based on how their surface and atmosphere absorbs or reflects light from the sun. Venus is completely covered with an atmosphere of 96% thick carbon dioxide and sulfuric acid clouds which give it the appearance of being light and yellowish. It might come to surprise to learn that most of the pictures that you have seen of Venus are probably misleading, according to many astronomers. Many times, astronomers use spacecraft to take pictures of Venus and they use different wavelengths of light in order to point out certain information or features in the atmosphere. These falsified pictures tend to show Venus as being reddish in color, when in actuality it is a yellowish-white colored planet. If looking at Venus with the perspective of having your eyes above the atmosphere, you would see a very bright white and yellow ball lacking any features. This is the reason that the spacecraft photographs Venus using different wavelengths, such as ultraviolet. This way, one can see a few of the different structures in the clouds surrounding the planet. If it was possible to travel to the surface of Venus, we would be able to see brownish-red rocks. The rocks may be similar to the volcanic rocks on our planet; however, the thick clouds on Venus allow very little light to reach the surface. Therefore, everything would look dim with tints of red. It is important to know that the surface of Venus is what its true color is and due to sulfuric acid, Venus has a yellow and white hue. The brightness of Venus can be attributed to its dense atmosphere which helps to reflect sunlight. Sulfuric acid droplets reflect back about 70% of the sunlight.

Moreover, an astronomer looking at Venus from Earth must be mindful of the fact that the Earth�s own atmosphere may affect how Venus appears. Particles of dust, dirt and chemicals may cause the planet to seem to shimmer, sparkle, or change color, as light reflected from Venus travels through Earth's atmosphere. Therefore, at times the planet can seem to be going through certain changes in color and appearance; however, realistically, there are quite a few external attributes that are making it appear that way. In addition, even though it is possible to view Venus through a telescope or binoculars, it is known for giving lots of trouble to those who wish to view it in great detail. This is because Venus is located in a low altitude above the Earth�s horizon. The planet�s brightness also creates a blur for the observer and as mentioned before, its thick and cloudy atmosphere makes the surface features never visible.

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