This is the second post of the series “how your sky looks when observed from another planet”. I have already briefly spoken about the Moon (here). Today’s post is about the Earth’s twin, Venus.
For a start, let’s assume for a moment we’re going to be there – not on the ground, obviously (Venus has a surface temperature of 462°C, by far the hottest in the Solar System, even more than Mercury, distance from the Sun nonetheless) but hovering in the atmosphere about 50 km from the surface or so, as NASA is speculating about (for some cool videos, have a look at this). This is less farfetched than it looks like – after all, going to Venus is faster than going to Mars. It takes only five months to travel there, when Mars takes nine with the current technology.
How would it look the sky from there? Not as good as we may think – atmosphere is thick, so seeing the Sun and the stars would be quite a challenge. But from the floating cities mentioned above, things would be different.
First of all, because of the planet’s retrograde rotation, the Sun would rise in the west and set in the east. Moreover, due to Venus’s long rotation, a complete day and night cycle takes about 117 Earth days. This also means that the time from sunrise to sunset is approximately 58.5 Earth days(!): expect week-long sunrise parties in those cities!
Finally, in circumstances like a transit, on the Venus’s sky “Earth would blaze like some stupendously bright bluish-white star in the constellation of Ophiuchus, the serpent holder. Our home planet would appear to blaze at a resplendent magnitude of -6.5. That’s nearly five times brighter than Venus would appear for us.” (For more, see this).
Can’t wait to be there!