Dark Side of Venus

Scientists have revealed a mysterious side of the Venus, which is characterized by wind and upper cloud patterns of the planet. It was found that the planet behaves differently from the side exposed to the sun.

It was revealed in the study by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, the night side of Venus exhibited some unexpected characteristics, such as unseen cloud types and morphologies.

This is the first time the scientists have been able to characterize the atmospheric circulation on the night side of Venus on a global scale. They used the Visible and Infrared Thermal Imaging Spectrometer (VIRTIS) on European Space Agency (ESA)’s Venus Express spacecraft to observe the clouds in the infrared.

The VIRTIS allowed the scientists to combine numerous images to improve the visibility of the clouds, and see them at unprecedented quality.

Javier Peralta of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) quoted, “while the atmospheric circulation on the planet’s dayside has been extensively explored, there was still much to discover about the night side. We found that the cloud patterns there are different to those on the dayside, and influenced by Venus’ topography.”

The upper clouds form different shapes and morphologies in comparison to those found on the other side of the planet in the night. The swirling winds on Venus are stronger on the side hidden from the sun, as per the scientists.

The scientists proposed a super-rotation phenomenon, owing to the high speed of the Venusian atmosphere. The study stated, the wind blows up to 60 times faster than the surface rotation of the planet.

The scientists have come a long way in uncovering the mysteries of the solar system planets, but it seems that a lot of work remains to be done in this direction.