Japanese Probe Brings New Insight into Strong Winds on Venus

Science Society Technology

Tokyo, April 24 (Jiji Press)--Data from the Japanese Venus probe Akatsuki have brought a new insight into the superstrong winds blowing on the second planet from the sun, a research team has said.

Venus has a thick atmosphere that rotates 60 times as fast as its solid surface, causing winds of 100 meters per second at an altitude of 70 kilometers from the ground.

The phenomenon, called super-rotation, was discovered in the 1960s. But details of its mechanism were largely unknown.

The team, including Hokkaido University associate professor Takeshi Horinouchi, analyzed data from the Akatsuki climate orbiter on the movements of clouds covering Venus and its heat distributions.

The team, also including researchers of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and other organizations, found that the super-rotation is accelerated by thermal tides driven by the heating and cooling of the atmosphere caused by the changes of day and night.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press