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The Babylonians recorded its appearances in about 3000 BC, and ancient civilizations in China, Central America, Egypt, and Greece also observed the planet. Telescopic observation. In the 17th century Galileo made the first telescopic observations of Venus. In 1610 he discovered the planet’s phases. If Earth lay at the center of the solar system, as was then widely believed, Venus would not display such phases. Galileo’s discovery was the first direct observational evidence to support Nicolaus Copernicus’ thencontroversial theory that Earth and the other planets orbit the sun.

Designed to use several gravity assists (one flyby of Earth, two flybys of Venus, and three flybys of Mercury) before entering orbit around Mercury. 25 26 VENUS VENUS The second planet from the sun is Venus. After the moon, Venus is the most brilliant natural object in the nighttime sky. It is the closest planet to Earth, and it is also the most similar to Earth in size, mass, volume, and density. These similarities suggest that the two planets may have had similar histories. Scientists are thus intrigued by the question of why Venus and Earth are now so different.

It was the first object made by humans to enter the atmosphere of of a planet’s crust and upper mantle. another planet and transmit data back to Earth. Observation and Exploration Venus was observed from Earth for centuries before the invention of modern astronomical instruments. The Babylonians recorded its appearances in about 3000 BC, and ancient civilizations in China, Central America, Egypt, and Greece also observed the planet. Telescopic observation. In the 17th century Galileo made the first telescopic observations of Venus.

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New Views of the Solar System by Encyclopaedia Britannica


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