Faster and Faster.

We all know about the massive dust and wind storms on Mars (and Earth for that matter), but what about our evil twin Venus?

It turns our that the winds on Venus, at over 180Mph (300Km/h) are getting faster!

Over the past six years wind speeds in Venus' atmosphere have been steadily rising (ESA)

After analyzing more than six years of data collected by the Venus Express has shown that the winds on Venus are getting faster.

Long-term studies based on tracking the motions of several hundred thousand cloud features, indicated here with arrows and ovals, reveal that the average wind speeds on Venus have increased from roughly 300 km/h to 400 km/h over the first six years of the mission. (Khatuntsev et al.)

Two different groups studied the data and came to similar conclusions.  It seems that the winds on Venus have increase 30% to 400km/h.  Although Venus is already one of the most inhospitable places in the solar system, the high winds and sulphuric acid atmosphere aren’t going to make it into a garden spot resort destination any time soon.

Venus is unusual for more than just its wind increase.  A day on Venus is longer than its year.  A Venusian year is about 225 days and it takes 243 days to complete a single rotation on its axis (one day).  So a day on Venus is longer than a year on Venus.  So in this case, watching the clock does make time seem to go slower.  And it runs backwards, Venus rotates in the opposite direction of Earth.

The other unusual fact about Venus is that its atmosphere spins around it much more quickly than its surface rotates (known as super-rotation).  It only takes four days for something in the atmosphere to go all the way around the planet, thanks to those high winds.

Saturn’s moon Titan is the only other place in the solar system that has atmospheric superrotation.

All in all, Venus is a very strange planet.  It would be great to explore it more, but the heat, pressure and caustic atmosphere are bound to keep it a secret for a long time.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California. As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

 

 

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