When is a Year Not a Year?

Fact: On Venus, a day is longer than a year.

Yes, on Venus you would be celebrating your birthday every day, since a day on our sister planet lasts longer than a year.

Of course this all comes down to definitions – a day is the time taken for a planet to spin once on its axis, which for Venus is the equivalent of 243 earth days. Meanwhile, a year is the time taken for a planet to orbit once round the sun, which takes a mere 224.7 earth days for Venus. This means there are ‘seasons’ on Venus relating to the time of the year, but they occur over the course of a single sunrise and sunset.

Its a strange place: every other planet in the solar system, as well as our sun, spins counter-clockwise. It’s thought that Venus had an impact with a massive asteroid a long time ago, but whatever the reason Venus spins clockwise. Hipsters are everywhere these days.

‘Another one of Mr Shaunak’s Little Bites of Science’
Image under Creative Commons license

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