Giant pattern found in clouds of Venus
Japanese scientists have identified a giant streak structure among the clouds covering the planet Venus, based on observation from the spacecraft Akatsuki. The researchers from Kobe University in Japan also revealed the origins of this structure using largescale climate simulations.
Venus is often called Earth’s twin because of their similar size and gravity, but the climate on Venus is very different. It rotates in the opposite direction to Earth, and a lot more slowly — about one rotation for 243 Earth days.
According to the study, published in the journal Nature Communications, about 60 kilometres (km) above Venus’ surface a speedy east wind circles the planet in about four Earth days (at 360 km/hour), a phenomenon known as atmospheric superrotation. The sky of Venus is fully covered by thick clouds of sulphuric acid that are located at a height of 4570 km, making it hard to observe the planet’s surface from Earth-based telescopes and orbiters circling Venus.
Surface temperatures reach a scorching 460 degrees Celsius, a harsh environment for any observations by entry probes. Due to these conditions, there are still many unknowns regarding Venus’ atmospheric phenomena. To solve the puzzle of Venus’ atmosphere, the Japanese spacecraft Akatsuki began its orbit of Venus in December 2015.