Venus’s thick atmosphere alters planetary spin velocity

Avatar By Le Williams | 2 years ago

Planetary scientist Thomas Navarro and his team of researchers presently estimate the gravity waves in Venus’ atmosphere will likely cause the planet’s rotation rate to change by two minutes every 243 Earth days.

The research study demonstrates how the increased velocity is compensated by the atmospheric rotation at the upper levels in the atmosphere and the effects of the Sun on Venus’ air pressure. The interplay of these factors may explain the variance in Venus’ rotation speed.

Navarro’s research expands the reasoning for additional missions to Venus. To better understand our neighbor’s peculiar rotation, he argued that we need long-term observations of the gravity wave as well as measurements of Venus’ interior

“We don’t know anything about the interior of Venus,” Navarro told Cosmos Magazine. “This is frustrating because Venus is the closest planet to Earth in terms of size, and yet we don’t know what the interior looks like.”

The standard physical model for simulating the atmosphere of Venus (known as the Institut Pierre-Simon Laplace general circulation model, or IPSL GCM for short) takes into account all the known physical properties of Venus, but had never produced a gravity wave like the one observed by the Japanese Space Agency’s Akatsuki spacecraft . According to the researchers, the only time a planet-wide gravity wave has been produced was by using a “rather crude model of the atmosphere” following Akatsuki’s discovery of the huge gravity wave in 2015.