Venus once used to a planet not too dissimilar to our Earth and it might not have been the sweltering planet of acidic clouds if Jupiter had not altered its orbit around the sun, according to new research. The potentially Earth-like environment of Venus got destroyed because of Jupiter moving closer to the sun and then moving away from it during its early formation, the authors of the study said. The study about Jupiter, the largest planet of our solar system, has been published in the Planetary Science Journal. Venus has a surface temperature of about 471 degrees Celsius or 880 degrees Fahrenheit because it the second closest planet to the sun. The temperature is above the melting point of the lead. This is hotter than the temperature of planet Mercury, despite it being the closest planet to the Sun.
The University of California’s researchers said that this movement of Jupiter likely accelerated the fate of Venus as an inhospitable planet. Stephen Kane, UCR astrobiologist, said that the climate of Venus would have gone through dramatic changes as Jupiter migrated. Due to this movement, the planet heated up and then got cooled off increasingly losing its water because of evaporation into the atmosphere. Kane, who led the study, said that the most interesting thing about the planet is that the orbit of Venus is almost perfectly circular. “I always wanted to discover whether the orbit of Venus has always been circular or not,” Kane said.
To learn how the orbit of each got affected, researchers created a model of the solar system. The orbit of a planet is measured between zero and one. The orbit is more circular if it is closer to the zero and if it one, the orbit is not circular at all. In this case, it won’t be able to complete an orbit and would instead launch into space. Researchers found the Venus had an orbit of 0.3 a billion years ago. As Jupiter migrated, Venus was pushed too close to the sun and its orbit changed to around 0.0006. This makes the most circular orbit of all the planets. Venus is often referred to as Earth’s twin because of its similar size.