Correction on Lovecraft’s Venus

“There are many hypotheses in science which are wrong.  That’s perfectly all right: it’s the aperture to finding out what’s right.  Science is a self-correcting process.” – Carl Sagan.

Carl Sagan (from http://www.brainpickings.org)

One of the facts I presented in the previous article on Venus was incorrect.  It was correctly pointed out to me by Celpustiu in the comments section of this blog that a Venusian day is not 23 days and 21 minutes as I previouls stated.  The “almost 24 hour Venus day” fact I obtained from HPL’s Collected Essays on Science, Volume 3 (Joshi, 2005).  I should have checked some more up-to-date sources.

In the comments section of this blog Celpustiu cited that Venus has a day of approximately 250 Earth days; I examined Carl Sagan’s book Cosmos (1980) and indeed he is correct.  In Cosmos the Venusian day is said to be 243 Earth days (with respect to the stars), very close to Celpustiu’s estimate.  Another interesting fact on Venus mentioned by both Celpustiu and Carl Sagan is that Venus turns “backwards” so the sun rises in the west and sets in the east.  Venus is the only planet in the inner solar system to do this.

In any event, I wanted to bring my error to everyone’s attention and correct it.  Again, any astronomical information from HPL’s essays will be confirmed and cross-referenced with more recent resources.  Next time we will talk about how HPL integrated Venus into his stories.  Thank you – Fred.

A global radar image of the surface of Venus from the Magellan space probe from data collected between 1990 and 1994 (Wikipedia.org)

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