Showing posts with label Venus. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Venus. Show all posts

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Gravity Waves On Venus Sparks Interest As Researchers Weigh In

Venus
Venus might be the closest look-alike to Earth we can get in our Solar system. It is likely dubbed as Earth’s sister planet due its similar size, mass, proximity to the Sun and composition. But that’s not why it has caught the eyes of scientists from all over the world. Huge waves have been spotted over the Venus atmosphere and what’s more mysterious is that these patches are stationary even though the clouds in the Venus atmosphere moves 100 meters per second.

What could be causing these unnatural patches? 

Since its discovery scientists and researchers have come forward with theories and the most plausible among them relates to the phenomenon widely observed on Earth and named as “Gravity waves”. These waves stretching over 6200 miles were created in the atmosphere just above the mountains by gravitational pull from the mountains as they flew over them. This would be a first time that these waves are observed on a planet.

What are Gravity waves? 

Gravity wave is an atmospheric phenomenon commonly seen on Earth surface that is laid with mountains. Roughly speaking they are formed when air ripples over rough and bumpy surfaces. The waves then move upwards and grow larger and larger in amplitude until they break just below the top of the clouds. It is speculated that the tall mountains over the Venus surface serve as a key factor in creating these giant gravity waves. Though the mechanism of the wave formation between Earth and Venus are quite different, the underlying principle remains intact. This feature which denotes atmospheric flow over the mountains should not be confused with “gravitation wave” which are time ripples in early universe.

These baffling spots were taken by Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Akatsuki Spacecraft as it entered the Venus orbit in late 2015. Researchers from Rikko University in Tokyo studied these waves and published their research in the Natural Geoscience Journal this year. These stationary waves lasted for quite some time in the Venus Atmosphere and were seen between December 7 and 11. Researchers added that the most interesting and unique feature of this phenomenon was it being stationary and remaining at that exact same geographical spot despite the super rotation of the Venus atmosphere at speeds more than 100 meters.