In early civilisations the planet Venus was bestowed with such great attention that its appearance in the sky is somewhat exaggerated. Jupiter, for example, is almost as bright as Venus, yet it was less regarded in prehistoric times. However, in the earthly firmament, Venus is the most luminous of the seven planets and the brightest object next to the Sun and Moon. This conspicuousness belongs to the upheaval of the solar system, which, we argue, got its beginning with the passage of the Red Sun. As we will show, a massive collision explains the prehistoric myths and the physics of Venus.
Venus in ancient cultures
Actually, we find a remarkable degree of consistency, with a worldwide emphasis on Venus. In myths and in relief representations from Mesopotamia Venus was regarded as a heavenly body, equivalent to the Sun and the Moon.
The graphic representation of Venus (Figure A) looks alien and yet, at the same time, remarkably consistent in all antique reliefs. The characteristic features of the Moon and Sun are well met because we can unmistakably assign the crescent of the Moon and the corona of the Sun. The third celestial object in the reliefs, which the historians assign to Venus, is shown at the same size as the Moon and the Sun, but, at the same time, it exhibits strange features. Instead of the crescent moon or a wreath of rays, two concentric circles characterize its appearance. If we concede the artist’s intention to reproduce a figure as faithfully as seen, we must at least conclude that in this earlier time Venus was far brighter in the sky than today.
It was not only the Old World that observed Venus as a unique attraction but also the Maya and other Central American peoples. The Maya kept a Venus calendar and determined the sidereal period of Venus with an uncanny precision of 0.014% deviation from the actual value. Most likely, they even used Venus to finetune their calendar.2 The remaining deviation was probably only due to the need to adapt to the Sun calendar. Venus was called “the big star”, while the bright planets Jupiter and Mars received little or no attention.
The names given to Venus by the Mexican people are diverse as well as enlightening, as they teach us about its appearance in the sky. J. E. S. Thompson lists some of these names:3
There are various names in Yucatec for Venus. These include Nohoch ich, “great eye;” Chac ek, “red star,” or “giant Star”, and Xux ek, “wasp star.” … The affix for red is almost invariably prefixed to the glyphs for Venus in Dresden (short for Codex Dresdensis).4
Regarding ancient reports in writing, we rely on fragments and quotations in secondary literature which survived by chance. We assume that ancient writers still had access to sources that have since been destroyed or disappeared. As a reliable reference of secondary literature, we classify a quote from St. Augustine in his masterpiece ‘City of God’:5
In the books of Marcus Varro, in which it is written: There is to be read about the lineage of the Roman people, what was written there, here I repeat it again: “In heaven, it is said, wonderful omen came forth; for the noblest star Venus, whom Plautus calls Vespergin, Homer Hesperon 6 and characterizes it as the most beautiful, writes Castor, had first been a sign in that its color, size, shape, and orbit changed, which happened neither before nor after. This happened during the reign of Ogyges, say Adrastos Cyzicenos and Dion Neapolites, a famous mathematician. “It is clear that such a great writer as Varro would not have noticed the event if it had not happened against nature.”
Furthermore, Brasseur de Bourbourg writes about a corresponding myth in his book on the prehistory of Mexico, in which he refers to the quote from Augustine.7
The traditions of the deluge of Ogygès mention a night which lasted nine months, and Saint Augustine, quoting Varro, reports that at that time there were extraordinary changes in the planet of Venus changing color, size, shape and course. A similar reminiscence can be found in Mexico, in the solemnity which was celebrated in the month of Quechollis, in commemoration of the fall or descent of the gods of Tzontmocque from heaven to hell. i. e. reminds of an event which had taken place, in the time of the great catastrophic flood, under the sign of several constellations, the most important of which was Tlahuizccalpan-teuctly or the star of Venus.
Similarly, the prairie Indians of North America describe the morning star in astonishing agreement with other ancient reports. As we can expect they detail Venus’ appearance as bright and self-luminous. Like the Maya, they also call Venus the ‘Big Star’.
The Morning Star is like a man; he is painted red all over; that is the color of life. He is clad in leggings and a robe is wrapped about him. On his head is a soft downy eagle’s feather, painted red. This feather represents the soft, light cloud that is high in the heavens, and the red is the touch of a ray of the coming sun.8
Transformation of Venus
The only known effect that can make a planet glow as bright as a sun is the impact of a massive – Moon-sized – asteroid. We consider the asteroid, which smashed into Venus, to have been a fragment of the destroyed fifth planet, see my previous article. For a short time, the Sun no longer outshone the planet Venus. During the cooling period the brightness slowly decreased until Venus was only visible due to reflected sunlight. This gradual darkening has not yet come to an end. Even today Venus emits radiation that is close to infrared.
The strange planet
As a matter of fact, Venus with its mechanics, geology, and climate represents a planetary riddle. For example, not only does Venus rotate so slowly that it does not even rotate once around its axis during a full orbit around the Sun, but it is also the only planet that rotates retrograde, i.e., opposite to the orbital revolution.
The surface temperature of Venus confronts us with a puzzle as great as its slow, retrograde rotation. Although Venus is twice as far from the Sun as Mercury and therefore only a quarter of the Sun’s radiation heats its surface, the temperature of the entire planet, during daytime and at night as well as from pole to pole, amounts uniformly from 440 ° C to 480 ° C.
To elucidate the problem, we estimate the heat balance using the Stephan-Boltzmann law of thermal radiation (E = σT4):
R is equal to the radius of the planet, A is the albedo (ratio of incident radiation and of re-radiation without absorption) and σ is the Stephan-Boltzmann constant.
To check, let’s look at the Earth, which effectively absorbs only 70% of the incident sunlight. 30% of the radiation energy is reflected back into space without entering the energy balance. According to this analysis in thermodynamic equilibrium Earth’s temperature would drop to -19 °C. The mantle of clouds and greenhouse gases (primarily water and other molecules which absorb heat radiation) not only reduces the incident radiation but effectively slows down cooling. This effect increases the average temperature to 14 °C.
Unlike Earth, Venus is constantly enveloped by a closed and thick cover of clouds, which do not consist of water but are formed by droplets of sulfuric acid. It is not only its proximity to Earth but also Venus’ high albedo originating from the strong backscattering of light by the cloud cover that results in the bright Venus. Only a small fraction of incoming light – mainly the long-wave portion – reaches the ground. As a consequence, even on the dayside, only twilight prevails. Since the bigger portion of the Sun’s irradiation doesn’t make it to the surface of Venus it cannot heat up the planet. In theoretical thermodynamic equilibrium, the surface temperature of Venus would fall to -46 °C. Thus, according to this simple thermodynamic estimate, it should be colder on Venus than on Earth. Therefore, we must look for the reason for this thermal imbalance of 500 °C.
The opinion that Venus doesn’t orbit within the habitable zone of the Sun is not correct.9 Indeed, it is likely that Venus was, in the distant past, a habitable planet, particularly when we consider that the young Sun radiated between 20 and 30% less energy than it does today. At the time of the young Sun and neglecting albedo the theoretical equilibrium temperature of Earth drops to -36 °C, almost 20 °C lower than today’s value.
From this point of view, it was not Earth but Venus that would have been the preferred and first life-bearing planet in the solar system.
Once life has got its foot in the door, it becomes persistent, seeks and creates niches and copes with even extreme conditions. The 740 K of Venus surface temperature, however, is likely to put a strain even on the most adaptable forms of life, especially if it is based on organic carbon compounds. But was Venus really that hot in its entire history?
While CO2 on Earth today is a trace gas, the Venus atmosphere consists of more than 96% carbon dioxide. Because this trace gas in Earth’s atmosphere is blamed for anthropogenic global warming, it is obvious to argue also for an excessive greenhouse effect as the cause of the high temperature of Venus. The so-called run-away model of galloping temperature increase, which is broadly discussed in the literature, follows this thesis. The model rests on the assumption that the temperature of Venus is steadily rising higher as a result of the obstruction of heat radiation by the CO2 loaded atmosphere. Such a run-away effect as an explanation for the high Venus temperature is ideologically seductive but physically untenable.
Contrary to this idea, physics teaches: it is difficult to heat up Venus by use of visible light radiation, whereas is easy to cool it down by emission of heat radiation.
While Earth is a water planet, its two neighbors Mars and Venus are drier than the Namib Desert. If there was ever water on Mars and Venus, it has largely disappeared. Until recently, the planetologists were convinced that there is no water on Venus at all. However, according to the latest measurements, minor quantities of water do exist after all. The question remains when and how it almost completely disappeared. We assume that the energy release of gigantic asteroid impacts would explain this peculiarity of Venus – and Mars as well.
Not only is the composition of the Venus atmosphere completely different from that of the Earth, but it is also almost a hundred times more massive than Earth’s atmosphere. The air pressure at the bottom of Venus is 92 bar (equivalent to ~900 m water depth). The difference in atmospheres becomes clearer when we compare the masses and the mass ratios.
With almost 80 per cent by volume, nitrogen is the main component of Earth’s atmosphere. Its percentage in Venus’ atmosphere amounts to only 3.5%. Despite being in proportion twenty times less abundant, the mass of nitrogen in Venus’ atmosphere is 1.08.1019 kg, which corresponds to about three times the nitrogen mass of Earth’s atmosphere (~ 3.9.1018 kg).
A tremendous difference is seen when considering the level of CO2. 97.7% (by mass of CO2) in the atmosphere of Venus compared to only 0.04% in our air. If the rocky planets Venus and Earth initially had similar atmospheres, where did the CO2 of the primordial Earth’s atmosphere go? Potential sinks for the missing CO2 are easily identified. For the most part, we find a huge amount of CO2 bound in carbonate rock. The mass of carbon dioxide bound in earthly rock is estimated at 2.1020 kg. The CO2 of the Venus atmosphere totals a mass of 4.7.1020 kg. We detected almost half of the difference searched for and end up with a mass surplus which turns out comparable to what we determined in the case of nitrogen. In addition, on Earth fossil deposits of coal, gas and oil, alongside the carbonate, represent a second, significant carbon contribution. Both deposits, carbonates as well as fossil fuels, are deposits that are of considerable, often exclusive, biogenic origin. It should be noted that only the binding of CO2 in biogenic deposits has created the oxygen world in which we live. An Earth where life would not have acted as a transformer and oxygen generator would have an atmosphere consisting of more than 70% CO2.
The assumption of a Venus atmosphere primordially twice as heavy as Earth would largely explain the differences found for CO2 and N2. It might come as a surprise that in the classic model of planetary genesis, the atmosphere of the Earth was no less enigmatic than that of Venus. The huge amount of water that today fills the ocean basins must have dominated, in the form of steam and gas, the atmosphere of a young and hot glowing Earth. Quantitatively, in the case of completely evaporated oceans, the atmosphere of the primordial Earth consisted of 80% water and a great portion of CO2 (~ 10%). Such a water loaded atmosphere is surprising, especially since water in its gas state is so light that it escapes into space far faster than CO2 nitrogen or oxygen.
Weather, in the earthly sense, with all the heat, cold, winds and seasons that entails, does not exist on Venus. The temperature at the poles is the same as at the equator. It is barely hotter under the midday sun than at midnight. More than strange! After all, day and night on Venus last for a half year each, and in theory, the dayside should be scorching hot, and the night side should cool down to freezing temperatures. Especially when we consider the rapid cooling of glowing hot surfaces. In any case, a difference in temperature should exist and in consequence, gales should rage. However, no temperature differences exist near the ground and as a result, there are no storms. At ground level, Venus’ wind speeds of 0.5 to 2 m/s, classified as wind force 1 according to the Beaufort scale on Earth, were measured. On the other hand, fittingly, hurricane speeds of up to 400 km/h occur in the upper atmosphere, because of the strong sun radiation and the related temperature gradients.
The remaining explanation for the surface temperature is an internal heat source. This source marginalizes solar radiation and keeps the ground at a constant temperature higher than the melting points of many metals.
The root cause of Venus’ surface temperature
To clarify the high surface temperature, we take a step back and investigate: How quickly does a rock surface cool down in free radiation? Here mathematics helps us.
To keep things simple, we are going to ignore convection and calculate surface cooling in the static case of pure heat transport.
The second Fick Law:
describes the relationship between the cooling rate (∂T/ ∂t) of the surface and the temperature change as a function of depth z, with equal to the thermal conductivity, the specific density of the rock and c equal to its specific heat capacity.
For the heat conduction from the hot interior to the cooling surface, we select a typical thermal conductivity of rock of = 2.25 W/m.K and assume an equally typical specific heat capacity of cv = 1,000 J/kg.K. We take the specific density of the rock to be 2,800 kg/m3.
If we assume free radiation, we get a fast cooling. However, we must not leave out the warming blanket of the atmosphere and the clouds. If, as a simple repair measure in our computation, we add this damping effect of the atmosphere to soil emissivity. To be on the safe side we choose low emissivity values of 0.3 and 0.1, respectively. We assume the initial temperature of 1,700 K (~ lava temperature) at the surface for the cooling simulation. The occurrence and extent of convection in the initially hot and therefore viscous surface are difficult to assess, but in any case, each convection slows down the cooling process.
On a geological time scale, the simulations reveal very short cooling times. Assuming an emissivity of 0.3 and otherwise free radiation, the surface cools down from 1,700 K to less than 1,000 K in 30 years. After this period, at a depth of 1 m, the temperature has dropped to 1,113 K. If we consider the cooling of earthly lava this cooling rate appears too fast. As soon as the lava has come to a standstill a glowing surface fades optically in a matter of seconds. Note: Surfaces look dark when they cool down to below 600 °C. After this time the temperature falls by 25 K at a depth of 10 m below the surface while at 20 m below it remains unchanged.
To compute longer cooling periods, computing time increases excessively. Thus, for longer cooling times the surface temperatures were estimated by a logarithmically extrapolating the cooling curve (see plots in Diagram 1). In order to obtain the current surface temperature of Venus of 740 K, when assuming an emissivity of 0.3, got a cooling time of 500 years, while an emissivity of 0.1 resulted in a value of 3,000 years.
If reliefs and myths actually report a glowing state of Venus from the earliest times of human history, we end up with results that regarding the order of magnitude are reasonable, but nevertheless, tend to be too short. On the other hand, as a calculated depth profile of temperature shows, during this period, cooling created a thin skin on the surface only. This thin layer could hardly stop the repeated convection of magma.
We propose and will validate later in this text that against all probability a giant asteroid impacted Venus and this collision led way to the appearance of a self-illuminating bright Venus. Which other arguments support the thesis of the impact of a moon-sized asteroid on Venus? Obviously and physically verifiable, the rotational state of Venus must reflect the impact. In fact, the mechanics of Venus are completely different from those of the neighboring planets. If we assume that the mechanics of a primordial Venus resembled those of the other planets, we can estimate the orbit and mass of an asteroid big enough to change the primordial mechanics of a ‘normal’ pre-Venus into its present state. To start an analysis, we assume that the primordial rotation period T (ω = 2π/T) of Venus around its own axis was of a comparable value to which the related planets Earth (24 h) and Mars (24 h, 37 m) exhibit. If pre-Venus, like Earth, does at present, rotated around its axis in 24 hours, its rotational angular momentum was:
This moment of inertia <Θ> of Venus was estimated regarding a multi-shell sphere with an inside structure analogous to the Earth (leading to a value of 70%, compared to a homogeneous sphere).
Given this period of rotation, the rotational energy
of the pre-Venus equaled 1.3.1029 J.
After the impact, the asteroid sinks into the planet and merges with it to form a larger sphere. The submerging and even distribution of the asteroid mass in the planetary body becomes evident when we understand that Venus is fluid in overwhelming proportions of its volume. Moreover, in the case of a giant asteroid impact, not a single body strikes the planet, but a huge, fragmented, and elongated pile of rubble smashes into it. The fragmentation occurs at a distance of 14,000 km where the planet’s gravity tears the approaching asteroid to pieces. After being torn apart, the fragments form an arc of destruction around the planet which spins beneath them. Fragments that are huge enough to pierce through the planetary crust and expose the molten interior of the planet.
If the chemical composition of this dwarf planet is taken equal to the Moon’s density of 3,340 kg/m3 this results in a mass of 7.349.1022 kg. The amalgamation of the two bodies would have increased the diameter of the pre-Venus by about 95 km compared to its present size. This material – evenly distributed on the spherical surface of the planet – increases the moment of inertia of the planet by approximately 4%. This larger moment of inertia (Θ) reduces the rotational speed proportionally to the square root and plays no or at most a minor role in slowing Venus’ rotation.
When the dwarf planet orbited the Sun in the same direction as Venus, the speed of the dwarf planet at the point of collision (= its perihelion) exceeds the orbit velocity of Venus by 8.8 km/s. Before impact, the gravity of Venus accelerates the dwarf planet by its escape velocity which amounts to 10.3 km/s. On its part, the dwarf planet accelerates Venus by its escape velocity of 2.4 km/s. In our computation, we assume that the gravitational potentials act up to the distance of 6,050 km which defines the effective distance of both partners when colliding. At this distance, the center of gravity of the dwarf planet lies on Venus’ surface.
The angular momentum, relevant for the change in rotation behavior, is related to the speed build-up when the bodies approach each other:
Δp is equal to the momentum increase due to acceleration in the mutual gravitational fields. (rv – rz) is equal to the impact parameter, measuring the transversal distance of the two centers of mass at collision, see explanatory Figure B. To secure the reality of our model, images of the surface topography of Venus taken by the spacecraft (WISPR) (‘Wide-Field Imager for Parker Solar Probe telescope) during flybys by measuring the thermal radiation of the Venusian surface are highly interesting. A sketch of the surveyed topography is shown in Figure B. For the first time, we see the actual geography of the Venusian surface in high resolution. Around the equator, a wide track runs around the planet, which is characterized by an abrupt beginning, as well as a gradual phasing out. We recognize in this the path of the impact, which the fragmented comet left over the planet’s sphere. Supporting our thesis, structures exist at the equator that fit perfectly into our model of a massive asteroid strike.
If the center of the dwarf planet strikes at the edge of the pre-Venus surface, the lever arm rq is equal to the planet’s radius. In this constellation, the torque and thus the change in angular momentum is greatest. This value corresponds to the maximum torque the dwarf planet can transfer. Of the orbital momentum of the given dwarf planet, which amounts quantitatively to 7.1037 kg.m2/s, at best, a fraction affects the rotation of Venus (angular momentum L = 3.6.1033 kg.m2/s). The angular momentum disappears quantitatively at the higher orbital speed of the two fused masses.
These requirements for stopping and reversal of rotation can only be fulfilled if the collision took place close to the equator. As graphically illustrated in Figure B, although orbiting the Sun in the same direction as Venus, the giant asteroid struck the planet contrary to its primordial rotation, without a significant speed component, perpendicularly to the orbital planet. Any oblique impact would not only have changed Venus’ rotation but also tilted its axis.
This estimated angular momenta (9.5.1033 kg.m2/s) exceeds the assumed rotational angular momentum of pre-Venus (3.6.1033 kg.m2/s) by almost a factor of three.
The outlined scenario of a grazing impact with simultaneous transmission of the full angular momentum is unrealistic because a grazing impact would cause a considerable amount of material to be blasted off the planet. The lack of a moon or alternatively the absence of a debris ring around Venus precludes an edge impact.
If the dwarf planet struck pre-Venus at half the radius instead of grazing the edge, the transferred angular momentum drops by half due to the halved lever arm. In this case, a dwarf planet (5.6.1022 kg or 76 % of the mass of the Moon becomes the prerequisite to stop pre-Venus rotation and even reversing its direction slightly.
If Venus rotated slower than assumed, the amount of angular momentum required to stop rotation would decrease proportionally. To assume such a slower rotation is justifiable by the fact that the rotation tends to increase from the inner to the outer planets. One cause might be, that the gravitational gradient of the Sun across the radius of Venus decelerated rotation by tidal braking. The Sun generated tidal height of Venus amounts to 0.53 m, while the Sun-caused tidal height of the Earth reaches only 0.16 m.
If in the moment of impact, Venus in its orbit was close to Earth when the dwarf planet collided, the additional heat of the sun-hot planet may have changed Earth’s climate for a short period. If at the moment, when the dwarf planet collided, Venus in its orbit was close to Earth, the additional heat of the sun-hot planet may have changed Earth’s climate for a short period. Most likely, myths tell about this as the Deucalion Flood.
Something strange happened to Venus when a large amount of gas was released.
In our model, we find an explanation for another geological peculiarity of Venus. Contrary to the obvious assumption that beneath a hot surface lies a thin crust, the crust of Venus measures 200 km, which is about 10 times thicker than Earth’s crust. Our asteroid model explains quickly and without any vague assumptions how the planet got its thick crust. The impacting dwarf planet consisted primarily of oxide-based rock (aluminium silicates and oxide compounds of other elements). This material merged with a planet composed mostly of metals.
Let us consider the impact in phases. After the gravity of Venus had deformed the approaching dwarf planet into a cigar-like shape, Venus’ gravity tore it apart at a distance of at least ten thousand kilometers above the surface. Large boulders pierced the planet’s crust and opened the gateway to hell. After they had penetrated the crust, their kinetic energy was far from being consumed. Hence, they dipped into the planetary mantle. In the magma the boulders continued on, pushing their way in, before reaching a standstill or until they completely disintegrated.
Venus continued to spin under the hail of impacts. The fragments of the dwarf planet wreaked havoc along their track across the planet. The power of the impacts, exploding magma and shock waves of ultra-heated plasma shattered the planet’s crust, magma gushed through cracks, and supervolcanoes hurled boiling material into space. Plasma torches and protuberances expanded like arcs of fire beyond the atmosphere. Plasma was heated to many thousands of degrees, explosions of debris, and gases released from decomposing rock bloated Venus’ atmosphere up into space. The transformation of the planet from a cold rock ball into a glowing star took less than an hour. Thereafter, for many centuries a fiery planet illuminated a bloated and billowing gas globe surrounding it.
It remains to be clarified how likely this cosmic collision was. A crude estimation results in the statistical likelihood of an asteroid on such a course striking the planet during an alarmingly short timeframe of 30,000 years. Here, we get a period in which the geological time scale is just a blink of an eye.
The reliefs of Mesopotamia capture a glowing Venus, which fits into the so-far cryptic representation of a tri-star. We give full credit for the truth to ancient reports and symbols and regard them as depicting a state seen in the sky. The reliefs show us a completely different Venus than the one we see today. The depictions of the “strange Venus” exactly reproduce the optical impression we expect. The large circular disk around a highlighted inner core represents the heat-expanded atmosphere with the glowing planet in its center. Thus, correctly this third object isn’t framed by a halo but by a sharply demarcated rim.
For many years – over generations – a second, small sun stood in the sky. A whole generation saw the flare-up of Venus; many generations saw a fading red “lamp”. Even if no one understood what was going on in the sky, the event was scary and informative enough to father the Venus cult. The event of a planet, which abruptly turned into a sun, remained engraved in the memory of man.
At the end of our cycle of the last four articles, we can state, that our theory describes the present state of the planetary system completely and without contradictions. Starting from the passage of the Red Sun, it explains, amongst others, the absence of the fifth planet, the structure of the planetary system, the origin of moons and the state of Venus. It might be truer than many official textbooks tell us.
As the renowned astronomer and historian Clive Ruggles 14 states:
“Archaeoastronomy is a field with academic work of high quality at one end but uncontrolled speculation bordering on lunacy at the other.” 15
It is up to the reader to decide for themselves which position they take in the case of my work.
2 C. Powell, thesis: A New View on Maya Astronomy, https://www.mayaexploration.org/pdf/A%20New%20View%20on%20Maya%20Astronomy.pdf
3 J. Eric S. Thompson, Maya Hieroglyphic Writing, Washington (1950) http://www.mesoweb.com/publications/Thompson/Thompson1950-Chapter9.pdf, page 218
5 Augustinus: De Civitate Dei. Liber XXI, 8
6 (ancient Greek) meaning eve, that is evening star
7 M. Brasseur de Bourbourg, “S’il existe des sources de l’histoire primitive du Mexique dans les monuments Égyptiens“; https://archive.org/details/silexistedessour00bras/page/48
11 Because of unclear image rights only this rough hand sketch is shown. Original image in:
B. E. Wood et al, in Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 49 (2022), Figure 1.
12 M. J. Way, Anthony D. Del Genio, Nancy Y. Kiang, Linda E. Sohl, David H., Grinspoon, Igor Aleinov, Maxwell Kelley, Thomas Clune; Geophysical Research Letters, 43(16) (2016)