I am aware we have images from the surface of Venus from the Venera missions but I am not sure if those images are taken using the visible spectrum the human eye can see. This is why I was wondering if light reaches the surface of Venus with how dense the atmosphere is or would it be pitch black?


1 Answer 1


Yes, a surprising amount of sunlight does reach the surface, so you very nearly answered your own question. The Venera spacecraft used visible light to take its pictures. Bear in mind that being nearer to the sun than we are, Venus gets more light from it than we do. What surprised me is that like Earth and Titan, there is a substantial gap of clear air between the ground and the cloud base. The atmospheric pressure is 90 atmospheres, and temperature about 460 C. On Earth, sulphur dioxide from volcanoes and other sources is oxidised in a few weeks to become sulphur trioxide, which forms sulphuric acid on contact with moisture. This process is impossible on Venus, where there is only a minute trace of oxygen in the atmosphere, so the origin of the clouds of sulphuric acid said to be there is a bit of a mystery. Photographs of the surface show no sign of acid erosion.

  • $\begingroup$ I didn't consider how much closer it was to the sun when I ask this question. I also didn't consider that their would be a gap between the cloud cover and the surface. Thank you for this response. $\endgroup$
    – Max Young
    Aug 9, 2019 at 16:13

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