Category: Venus

Venus Post

Response Essay #2


Venus is an amazing planet as well, although doesn’t hold as much intrigue to me as Mars does. The thick clouds do offer a bit of mystery and maybe that’s why the planet seemed feminine to ancient astronomers who couldn’t see to its surface. It is a very good point that was made in the text that Venus isn’t really a planet that went wrong as it is not really an oddity. Earth is the oddity. Whenever I think about the planets in the universe, and especially when reading the textbook for this class which details the harsh conditions on other planets in our solar system, I always think about how amazing it is that we have Earth–how of all the chances, of all the variables, Earth exists and has such an amazing capacity for life. Of course, then I start wondering what type of other life forms there could be which could live on other planets without some of the materials we see as necessary for life here. Like the tube worms that live on the deep ocean vents here without sunlight. The molecules in a living body would at least require temperatures and pressure levels that would allow for cohesion and movement, though, and it does seem like life requires water (thus far that we have seen).  I think Venus would not be hospitable to life, especially life that required water.

The music that Holst wrote to accompany the planet Venus is very much along the lines of solemn and mysterious, which fits in with what we know about the planet (or what we hadn’t known about it for so long). It does have a feminine feeling to the music, with light airy strings and wind instruments almost in a frolicking sort of pace in the beginning. Then there is a sort of shift and it becomes more wistful seeming, but still the same types of instruments are used. It could easily be used for a love song, which is fitting for the Goddess of Love. I feel like the music Holst wrote for Venus is very innocent and hopeful sounding. It even gets timid sounding at points. These are all things that could be considered “feminine”, although the feminist in me doesn’t really like that kind of connotation. It’s too bad that we have to genderize so many things, but either way, this piece is a stark contrast to the Mars composition for sure and therefore makes an entertaining companion piece to it.


Venus Post

CHID 496

Venus: Bringer of Peace


I found it ironic that Venus is described as the “bringer of peace”, and yet it is so hot and dry that it is the least hospitable of all of the planets.  The description of Venus as being extremely hot, dense, and almost completely void of water does not invoke a feeling of peace in me, but instead something that is almost like fear.  Venus does not seem peaceful; it is scary and capable of engulfing entire space craft in no time at all.  What I did find interesting was the fact that all of the names on Venus are female.  It is a way to honor femininity and the peaceful nature that such a characteristic conveys (although even the female names will not convince me that Venus is supposed to be peaceful).  Although I appreciate that all of the names on Venus are female, it was a little hard for me to take the planet seriously when a volcanic vent is names Sacajawea, a name I associate with Lewis and Clark.

One thing I did take away from this article was the importance of global warming and how the greenhouse affect can mean bad things for Earth.  If we continue to pump CO2 molecules into the atmosphere without any regard for what we are doing, it is entirely possible that the air on Earth become as dense as the air on Venus, leading to an extreme increase in temperature and certain extinction of the human race.  While this would take millions of years to occur, it is still something to worry about.  Venus is an example of exactly what we do not want to have happen to Earth.  If only Venus had water, then it could possibly be considered peaceful.  But then, if it did have water, then it would be exactly like Earth, which is an interesting topic to think about.  What if there were two Earths?


Venus Post

The Bringer of Peace

If Mars has been seen as the representation of war and violence across cultures, than Venus is certainly the goddess of love. The Babylonians named it Ishtar, the Greeks called it Aphrodite, Persian mythology relates it to Anahita, and of course, the Romans named it Venus. All of these figures are goddesses of love or of reproduction, which seems pretty closely tied with love. It sits brightly in the sky, brighter than all but the moon, so it makes sense that it would be viewed as an object of wonder and beauty, much like love goddesses themselves. In almost ironic contrast, the physical reality of Venus is seen closer resembling Hell. An unfortunate connection, but people tend to overlook the reality in favor of the poetic. Holst manages to set the perfect tone for Venus, again either tapping into the collective feeling of Venus, or setting the standard for the emotion itself.

I find it fascinating that Venus, though so close in similarities to Earth, is completely different from what we had ever expected. The physical processes that have shaped Venus into the form it now possesses are simple and streamlined. This is exemplified by the way the atmosphere completely rotates in four days’ time and in the relative static nature of the surface. One amazing attribute of Venus is its apparent magnitude. Shrouded by thick clouds of sulfur dioxide the reflective brightness can reach -4.9, making it the second brightest object in the sky, behind the Moon, and of course not including the sun. I could not find the specific scenario this fact relates to, but in my further research, the brightness of Venus is enough to cast shadows. I do not know for certain, but my guess would be that Venus would need to be as close to the Earth as the Moon is for that to happen, and that the statement is purely relating how bright -4.9 magnitude can be. However, if it were possible, I would love to read by Venus light.

As of right now, I have been listening to Venus on repeat for almost three hours. Holst created a work of sheer beauty when he composed it. Just like with Mars, it feels as if Holst has captured the essence of what our culture thinks of when we think of Venus. The other way to look at it would be that Holst has generated what we think of as the sound of Venus, but it is so ingrained in our society that we do not even know where our ideas come from. It reminds me of how Aaron Copeland’s compositions just sound like America, though I have no words to describe how, it just does. As I listen, I can see moments from every great cinematic love story, probably because cues and themes were most likely lifted, edited or reimagined and used in films. The tender, subtle moments remind me of romance films like I have stated, but the bigger sections that swell and capture my attention also remind me, much like Mars, of science fiction films, specifically Star Wars or perhaps more generally the nostalgic music of John Williams. The feeling that heart strings are being pulled mimics any character in a film that is experiencing love, hope of peace.

The hellish image of Venus that we now understand, incredibly dense atmospheric pressure, insanely hot temperatures, and acid rain might be in conflict with the seemingly natural connection to love and peace that humans have made, but there are still connections to be made. Being the brightest object in the sky besides the sun and moon, it could clearly be seen as a large diamond or jewel, and the character of Aphrodite/Venus was not always peaceful and loving. In several myths she expressed a nasty, hellish attitude, so the relationship is still appropriate.

Venus  4 min video