Scientists finally discover the reason behind the weird spin rates of Venus


The researchers said that the varying rotation rates of Venus were brought about by the wind's varying direction while flowing against the mountains. It was first spotted by Japanese Venus orbiter Akatsuki in 2015, and spends days at a time staying perfectly still within Venus's otherwise turbulent atmosphere.

Also, the scientists revealed that these gravity waves, caused by the extreme weather on Venus, can alter the Venusian days' length, producing an oscillation of about two minutes, in Earth time. It is known that it takes 243 Earth days for the planet to spin just once, but exact measurements have varied by an average of seven minutes.

For future studies, Navarro told Cosmos that he hopes to find out why Venus' atmosphere "super-rotates", or rotates faster than the planet actually does, thus resulting in conditions favorable to the creation of the aforementioned gravity waves.

This is interesting for several reasons, according to the paper published yesterday in Nature Geoscience.

The speed of rotation of Venus around its axis changes when its dense atmosphere interacts with the mountain ranges on the surface.

The winds on Venus can be as fast as 250 miles per hour, which is a process called a "superrotation".

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This is longer than it takes to orbit the Sun - around 225 Earth days - which in turn means that a Venusian day is longer than a Venusian year.

This discrepancy led many planetary scientists to believe that the main "brake" the rotation of Venus was not an asteroid, and its "supersonic" atmosphere. In such circumstances, the existence of a stable gravitational waves would be impossible.

An global team of researchers figured out why changing the speed of rotation of Venus. These images provided clues into the bow-shaped structure in the clouds and the mountain wave.

As seen in the ultraviolet, Venus is striped by light and dark areas indicating that an unknown absorber is operating in the planet's top cloud layer.

We already knew that the wave appeared right above the 4,500-metre-high (14,764 feet) Aphrodite Terra mountain range near the planet's equator - so it did seem like the most likely explanation.

They conducted computer simulations based on the data in space. Further studying these waves and how they affect Venus could help scientists better understand its interior, as well as its odd atmosphere. The most famous of them is the so-called "smile of Venus" - education in the form of an arc, which was recorded by the probe "akatsuki" for four days.