Astronomers Revealed the Mysterious Patterns of the Night Side of Planet Venus

Mindy Sparks
September 18, 2017

Along with the corrosive atmosphere and the scorching heat, the toxic hellhole is the thing, because of which the planet Venus is not the one of inviting place in our Solar System.

According to the study, there will be more observations of Venus' night side in the future, with the Japanese space agency's Akatsuki spacecraft now in orbit around that planet.

The atmosphere of Venus is dominated by powerful winds that circulate around the planet once every four Earth days. "Our findings were confirmed when JAXA's Akatsuki spacecraft was inserted into orbit around Venus and immediately spotted the biggest stationary wave ever observed in the Solar System on Venus' dayside".

In a significant breakthrough, an analysis of the mysterious night side of planet Venus has thrown light on several aspects of the planet that had been hidden from science as we know it.

"We found that the cloud patterns there are different to those on the dayside, and influenced by Venus' topography", said Peralta, lead author of the study published in the journal Nature Astronomy. Though the atmospheric circulation on the day side has been explored quite a bit, the night side of Venus had been full of mysteries.

The speed of the winds that whirl around the planet is faster than the speed of rotation of Venus itself. Venus's winds rotate up to 60 times than the planet, this phenomenon is known as "super-rotation". S, to know more about it, Peralta and his teammates chose to explore the nights of Venus through the Visible and Infrared Thermal Imaging Spectrometer (VIRTIS) instrument fitted inside the ESA's Venus Express spacecraft, which orbited the planet from 2006 to 2014. It shows "the super-rotation seems to be more irregular and chaotic on the night side", according to the ESA.

However, there was no evidence of them in the lower cloud levels, up to 50 kilometres above the surface, they found. The team used Visible and Infrared Thermal Imaging Spectrometer (VIRTIS) on European Space Agency (ESA)'s Venus Express spacecraft to observe the night side of the planet and determine the cloud patterns. This helped the scientists in improving the visibility of the clouds and watching them at unparalleled quality by merging multiple images.

The pictures they were able to obtain with Venus Express, however, reveal phenomena that have never been seen on the day side. This results in more intensified, irregular and chaotic whirling winds occurring at the mysterious nights of Venus. The behaviour of the clouds is also linked to changes on the surface of the planet.

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