Science: Venus Observed

Astronomers are full of facts about far-distant stars, but they know almost nothing about Venus, the earth's nearest (26 million miles) planetary neighbor. Its size, density and period of rotation are all uncertain, and no one has glimpsed its surface, which is always covered with clouds as opaque as marshmallows. In the latest Astrophysical Journal, Astronomer Gerard P. Kuiper of Yerkes Observatory tells how he learned at least a few facts about cloud-wrapped Venus.

Using the 82-in. telescope of McDonald Observatory near Fort Davis, Texas, Dr. Kuiper took 260 pictures with a filter that excluded all but violet light. Most of them...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!