Japan’s Akatsuki spacecraft captures gravity wave on Venus

Japan’s Akatsuki spacecraft captures gravity wave on Venus

Not long after entering Venus’ orbit in December 2015, Japan’s Akatsuki spacecraft has captured a really weird atmospheric phenomenon, a gravity wave, in the planet’s upper cloud layer.

Gravity waves are common phenomenon, and their effects are often seen on the clouds and oceans. These waves are caused when an atmosphere or body of water is disturbed. As gravity tries to restore equilibrium, it overshoots and causes a wave effect.

But, discovery of a 6,214-mile gravity wave on Venus surprised many researchers. Researchers said as the atmosphere of thick cloud of sulphuric acid rotates at a faster rate than Venus itself, details in the planet’s surface topography might have caused disturbances, which in turn have produced large-scale gravity waves.

Lead researcher Makoto Taguchi of Tokyo's Rikkyo University said, “Over several days of observation, the bow-shaped structure remained relatively fixed … [it] is the result of an atmospheric gravity wave generated in the lower atmosphere by mountain topography that then propagated upwards.”

Despite being Earth-like in shape and size, Venus is a straight-up weirdo. Its thick atmosphere is more than 96 per cent carbon dioxide, which creates extremely high greenhouse effect. It has a mean surface temperature of 462 decrees Celsius (863 degrees Fahrenheit).

The strange discovery of the gravity wave on Venus’ surface was detailed in the latext edition of the journal Nature Geoscience.


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