Venus: giant gravity wave discovered in atmosphere

Posted: January 16, 2017 by oldbrew in exploration, Gravity, research, solar system dynamics, waves
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A wave from pole to pole in the cloud tops that doesn’t move – but then disappears? Another Venus conundrum emerges.

A massive, un-moving structure has been discovered in the upper atmosphere of Venus, reports the IB Times.

Scientists detected the feature with the Jaxa’s Akatsuki spacecraft and they believe it is some sort of gravity wave – although they do not understand how it ended up at the altitude of cloud tops.

The bow-shaped structure was first spotted in December 2015 and a team led by scientists from Rikkyo University in Japan were able to observe it over several days.

It measured 10,000km in length and was brighter and hotter than the surrounding atmosphere. When scientists attempted to observe it again a month later, it had disappeared. The team published their findings in the journal Nature Geoscience.

The Akatsuki spacecraft was launched in 2010. Having initially failed to enter the orbit of Venus, it spent five years going round the Sun before being pushed back on track in 2015.

It is currently undertaking a two-year mission to observe Venus, with cameras on board set up to study the atmosphere and cloud physics of our neighbouring planet.

While observing the Venus’ upper atmosphere, at an altitude of around 65km, scientists noticed the huge, stationary structure. While the rest of the planet’s atmosphere moves extremely fast – around 60 times faster than the planet’s speed of rotation.

Continued here: Venus: Giant gravity wave discovered in atmosphere | IB Times

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  2. TA says:

    Just goes to demonstrate we have a long way to go in our understanding of the universe. Science is fun!

  3. oldbrew says:

    ‘they believe it is some sort of gravity wave’

    So it could be something else entirely.

  4. linneamogren says:

    We need a better understanding of the lower atmosphere is the obvious conclusion here.