Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Basque Country University researchers publish two articles in Nature on latest discoveries on Venus

03.12.2007
Nature journal has published a series of articles devoted to the new discoveries by the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Venus Express space probe made on our neighbouring planet. Two researchers from the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), Agustín Sánchez Lavega and Ricardo Hueso of the Planetary Sciences Team at the Higher School of Engineering in Bilbao, are the co-authors of the two articles.

The Venus Express space mission was launched in November 2005 and entered in planetary orbit in April 2006. Since then it has been regularly sending data and images from Venus. Thanks to this space mission, researchers are beginning to reveal some of the secrets of this mysterious planet, so similar in size to the Earth while, at the same time, being an inhospitable world with its high temperatures caused by a runaway greenhouse effect and the poisonous composition of its atmosphere and clouds.

Researchers Agustín Sánchez Lavega and Ricardo Hueso took part in the observations and analyses carried out by VIRTIS, a spectrum camera that takes pictures simultaneously in visible and infrared light and obtains high-resolution spectra. Nature magazine has published seven research articles, two of which have been co-written by the abovementioned researchers. The aim of the investigation is the detailed study of the planet’s atmosphere, its meteorology, its strange, sulphuric acid cloud formations and the evolution of its climate.

In one of the articles Sánchez-Lavega and Hueso present a detailed study of the chemical processes and the movements which affect two gases that are of great interest for our planet Earth (carbon dioxide and oxygen) and which are present at a distance from the planet surface – at a height of between 95 and 115 km. The upper atmosphere of Venus is very tenuous and its behaviour helps to understand the energy mechanisms occurring between outer space and the deepest and densest atmosphere of the planet. The intense ultraviolet light from the Sun decomposes carbon dioxide molecules into carbon monoxide and oxygen and which then move to the nocturnal side of the planet. Here they recombine to form molecules of oxygen and emit infrared light. The researchers have presented in detail the movements of the masses of excited oxygen which move from the diurnal side (illuminated by the Sun) to the nocturnal side, with speeds of up to 250 km/h, as well as the mechanisms operating in the intense infrared emission of the oxygen.

In the other article the discovery of the South Pole double vortex (the dipole) is presented. This is a whirlwind in rapid rotation around the planet’s Pole (it’s takes 2.5 days) and which extends throughout the cloud layers at an altitude of between 50 and 65 kms. The study of this meteorological structure is of great interest in order to understand the mechanisms involved in the formation of similar vortexes, especially that of the Earth’s Antarctic continent, where this is one of the agents responsible for the appearance of the ozone layer gap. We have discovered that the polar vortex on Venus is a double one, in the shape of an eight and which, at times, forms at a height of 65 km where it is detected at high temperatures. At the deepest cloud layers the whirlwind is unique and its clouds are very opaque (at an altitude of 45-50 km).

With these kinds of comparative studies between the atmospheres of Venus and the Earth, researchers hope to obtain a better understanding of the greenhouse effect, the formation and chemistry of the sulphuric acid clouds, the nature of the vortexes (whirlwinds) in the polar atmospheres of the planets as well as the meteorology of the planets that rotate slowly. The research will enable obtaining knowledge of climate change on our planet. In short, the aim is to understand why a planet which has such a similar mass, size and chemical composition to those of the Earth can have such a different climate evolution.

Garazi Andonegi | alfa
Further information:
http://www.basqueresearch.com/berria_irakurri.asp?hizk=I&Berri_Kod=1543

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht NASA spacecraft investigate clues in radiation belts
28.03.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht Researchers create artificial materials atom-by-atom
28.03.2017 | Aalto University

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Transport of molecular motors into cilia

28.03.2017 | Life Sciences

A novel hybrid UAV that may change the way people operate drones

28.03.2017 | Information Technology

NASA spacecraft investigate clues in radiation belts

28.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>