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For years, scientists have been unable to agree on the length of a day on Venus, but one new study might put an end to this confusion.
The planet Venus rotates very slowly, with a single revolution taking about 243 Earth days, and this rotation rate varies. Additionally, while the planet turns slowly, its atmosphere moves dramatically faster, making a complete rotation in only four Earth days, according to a statement about the new study. However, while we can follow the planet's changing rotation, until now, scientists weren't able to clearly explain why the rate changes.
Akatsuki - Structure - Venus - Spacecraft - Structure
Recently, Akatsuki spotted a huge, bow-shaped atmospheric structure on Venus. The spacecraft noticed that the structure kept disappearing and reappearing, yet it remained in the same location above mountains on the planet's surface. When researchers first studied images of the planet from Akatsuki's mission in 2015, they suggested that the strange structure was actually a fast-moving mountain wave. A mountain wave is a type of atmospheric gravity wave created by topographical elements like mountains and the way wind flows over them.
Over Amsterdam Island on Earth, a mountain wave disrupts clouds, resulting in a distinctive pattern.
Credit - NASA - Earth - Observatory - Image
Credit: NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey.
Venus' surface is difficult to image...
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