Did Venus Have Oceans? Earth-like past Revealed as ?Hot Planet?

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Venus today reaches what astronomers call ?superior conjunction,? when it appears to go behind the Sun from our point of view on Earth. For much of the year Venus has been a morning object?often referred to as the ?Morning Star??but later this week it will begin to appear in the western sky after sunset to become a super-bright ?Evening Star.?

Was Venus once like Earth? New research out this week indicates that the hottest planet in our solar system may have once had liquid oceans, but doesn?t now because it rotates too slowly.

In "Consequences of Tidal Dissipation in a Putative Venusian Ocean," published recently in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, researchers at Bangor University in Wales argue that tides in an ancient Venusian ocean would have been large enough to slow the planet?s rotation rate.

Here are five things about Venus that will help you understand their findings:

? Venus is the second closest planet to our Sun.

? The average temperature on Venus is 864

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