Venus is the second-closest planet to the Sun, orbiting it every 224.7 Earth days. The planet is named after Venus, the Roman goddess of love and beauty. After the Moon, it is the brightest natural object in the night sky, reaching an apparent magnitude of −4.6. Because Venus is an inferior planet from Earth, it never appears to venture far from the Sun: its elongation reaches a maximum of 47.8°. Venus reaches its maximum brightness shortly before sunrise or shortly after sunset, for which reason it is often called the Morning Star or the Evening Star.
Venus Rising, a manned science station, was put into operation in stationary orbit over Venus in 2486. Studies there lead to enormous leaps in the understanding of terraforming techniques, and in 2590 the station became Venus University, one of the premiere science schools in the known universe.