A strange phenomenon which has never been seen before has been spotted on Venus, the solar system’s brightest planet, which has baffled scientists and astronomers.
The clouds that are frequently observed in Venus’ atmosphere moving at very high speeds of around 328 feet per second and move around the planet every four days.
The cloud that is now being observed is stationary, and it had not moved in four days compared to the planet’s average rotation. Venus has the longest and unique rotation period of the entire solar system. The planet rotates in the opposite direction compared to other planets, and it has no natural satellite.
Since Venus rotates inside the Earth’s orbit, it is considered an inferior planet, meaning its closer to the sun, and it never moves far away from the sun.
Bow shaped feature in Venus’s atmosphere
The first scientists to spot the feature on Venus’s atmosphere were Japanese after their spacecraft Akatsuki pulled into orbit around Venus. The cloud which stretched around 6,000 miles from pole to pole resembled a sideways smile.
When the spacecraft made an orbit and returned after a month, the cloud had disappeared, and apart from a few glimmers that were observed between April and May last year, the mysterious cloud has never returned.
The probable cause of the wave
According to a paper recently published, the scientist is calling the cloud a gravity wave, similar to the ones found on Earth, that are responsible for ocean waves. It should not be confused with a gravitational wave, though, as that is entirely different. The paper published in Natures statement tried to explain the strange sighting.
“Although it is unclear whether gravity waves induced by mountains can readily propagate upwards to the cloud tops of Venus, the observations suggest that the atmospheric dynamics of Venus are more complicated at depth than previously appreciated.”
The mysterious cloud sighting was approximately 10,000 kilometers (6,213 miles) in diameter and located over the planet’s mountains found on the surface, and it was dazzling, according to the scientists.
In 1973, the Mariner spacecraft observed a Y-shaped cloud on Venus’ surface, and it was noted through Ultra-violet rays. This particular cloud was also moving independently of the other cloud formations that are usually found around that area.
In 2015, scientists deduced that it could have been caused by centrifugal forces which have the ability to draw away atmospheric pressure, on a rotating body.
In 2016, the European Space Agency was looking at how mountains interfered with Venus’ atmosphere based on observations from the concluded Venus Express mission. Scientists observed that air filled with moisture, moves up from the lower atmosphere, making its way over the Planets Mountains creating gravity waves.
It is believed that a cloud is an atmospheric event whereby air moves over a bumpy surface, getting larger in magnitude as it moves along, which in most cases is vertical. The air then breaks just as it approaches the clouds, and is similar to how sea waves behave when they reach the shore.