Scientists from Hokkaido University found out why the atmosphere of Venus rotates much faster than the planet itself. The study was based on data from the Akatsuki space probe, launched in 2010, Science reports.
It is known that 243 Earth days last for a day on Venus. But her atmosphere moves 60 times faster, at a speed of over 350 km / h. This phenomenon was discovered back in the 1960s, but its causes have long remained unclear.
According to scientists, the rapid rotation of the atmosphere should have slowed, but this does not happen. The authors of a new study concluded that the solution is connected with the Sun.
A star heats the atmosphere of Venus unevenly. On the lit side of the planet, the temperature rises to very high values. Then the hot streams of gas flow to the dark side. On Earth, this process is hindered by continents and oceans, but on Venus there is nothing of the kind.
A computer model showed that hot air on Venus rises and moves to the north and south poles, and cold air moves in the lower layers from the polar and temperate latitudes to the equator. This creates a circulation cell that supports the power of high-altitude winds and contributes to the rapid rotation of the atmosphere.
The results are published in the journal Science.
It was previously reported that the atmosphere of Venus is not homogeneous, but consists of several layers with different gas contents. This phenomenon was noticed in the lower atmosphere, about 100 km above the surface.