MessageToEagle.com

Comet-Like Ionosphere At Venus Observed

30 January, 2013


Share this story:
Follow us:

MessageToEagle.com - Planet Venus' ionosphere balloons out like a comet's tail on its nightside, according to unique observations of the planet made by the ESA's. Venus Express.

The ionosphere is a region of weakly electrically charged gas high above the main body of a planet's atmosphere. Its shape and density are partly controlled by the internal magnetic field of the planet.

For Earth, which has a strong magnetic field, the ionosphere is relatively stable under a range of solar wind conditions.

By comparison, Venus does not have its own internal magnetic field and relies instead on interactions with the solar wind to shape its ionosphere.



Click on image to enlarge

Comet-like ionosphere at Venus

The change in ionosphere of Venus during normal solar wind conditions (left) and reduced solar wind activity (right), as observed by ESA’s Venus Express spacecraft in August 2010. The yellow lines show a projection of the solar magnetic field lines as they interact with the ionosphere. Venus Express follows an elliptical orbit around the planet once every 24 hours, passing within 250 km of the north pole and 66 000 km over the south pole. The observations were made on the nightside of the planet, when Venus Express was within 15 000 km of the centre of the planet. Although the spacecraft only took measurements within two Venus radii, the findings suggest that the ionosphere likely extends to even greater distances during periods of reduced solar wind intensity. Credits: ESA/Wei et al. (2012


The observations were made in August 2010 when NASA's Stereo-B spacecraft measured a drop in solar wind density to 0.1 particles per cubic centimetre, around 50 times lower than normally observed; this persisted for about 18 hours.

"The teardrop-shaped ionosphere began forming within 30-60 minutes after the normal high pressure solar wind diminished. Over two Earth days, it had stretched to at least two Venus radii into space," says Yong Wei of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Germany, lead author of the new findings.

Usually, this material flows along a thin channel in the ionosphere, but scientists were unsure what happens under low solar wind conditions.

Does the flow of plasma particles increase as the channel widens due to the reduced confining pressure, or does it decrease because less force is available to push plasma through the channel?

"We now finally know that the first effect outweighs the second, and that the ionosphere expands significantly during low solar wind density conditions," says Markus Fraenz, also of the Max Planck Institute and co-author on the paper.

"We often talk about the effects of solar wind interaction with planetary atmospheres during periods of intense solar activity, but Venus Express has shown us that even when there is a reduced solar wind, the Sun can still significantly influence the environment of our planetary neighbours," adds Håkan Svedhem, ESA's Venus Express project scientist.

MessageToEagle.com

See also: Doomsday Device Will Track Dangerous Apophis Asteroid

Follow MessageToEagle.com for the latest news on Facebook and Twitter !

Don't Miss Our Stories! Get Our Daily Email Newsletter

Enter your email address:


Once you have confirmed your email address, you will be subscribed to the newsletter.

Recommend this article:

Profiling Of Faceless "Civilian Cyber-Warriors" - Not An Easy Task!

BitTorrent File-Sharing Is Closely Monitored - Your IP Can Be Registered And Used In Court

Wonderful Mobile Astronomy Apps For All Stargazers!

Our Brain Is A Holographic Machine Existing In A Holographic Universe


Is A New Race Of Super Earthlings Being Born Or Is This The End Of The Human Race? - Scientists Ask

Subscribe To Our Space, Astronomy, Astrophysics, Earth and Xenology News!

Grab the latest RSS feeds right to your reader, desktop or mobile phone.

Subscribe to RSS headline updates from:
Powered by FeedBurner

Go to - MAIN PAGE

Copyright © MessageToEagle.com All rights reserved.
Go to - MAIN PAGE


Advertise With Us!

Submissions

 Subscribe in a reader

Join Us On Facebook!

Other Popular Articles

Technology:

Amazing Star Wars Hoverbike Successfully Tested And It Looks Just Like In "Return of the Jedi"

Closer To Realistic Virtual Worlds - Disney Researchers Reproduce Human Face!

Car That Can Fold Itself Up: HIRIKO Can Squeeze Into Really Tiny Spaces!

Soon We'll Enjoy 3D Films Without Special Glasses And In Real-Time!

Hacking Your Brain And Extracting Sensitive Information Will Soon Be Possible

Silicone-Based Robots Can Walk And Change Their Appearance

Tractor Beam Works On Increasingly Larger Objects - "Star Wars" Mighty Technology Much Closer

NASA's 'Mighty Eagle' Robotic Prototype Lander Takes Flight - It Can Hover And Move Sideways!

A Milestone Towards Future Satellite-Based Quantum Teleportation Achieved But Race Still Continues!

DeepFlight Super Falcon - A New Advanced "Flying" Submersible - The Future Of Manned Ocean Exploration!

Spying On People Inside Building Through The Walls

Biometrics: Eye-Scanners Can Be Fooled

DARPA's Huge "Spider" Satellites In Action 2015!

Dazzling Night Sky Images: Astronomy Photographer Of The Year Competition Is Underway!
All across the world there are people who love to stand outside and photograph the best our beautiful night sky has to offer. Sometimes they can wait for hours just to take that one perfect shot! The results of these peoples' efforts...

Time Travel: A Journey To The Fourth Dimension And The Incredible Science Of Dr. Who
The possibility of time travel have fascinated mankind for ages. We are all familiar with the concept of the time machine, from H.G. Wells to current sci-fi writers, and there are physicists who say we cannot rule out time travel.

Teenage Girl Develops Cell Phone That Tests Your Heart
Catherine Wong is a 17-year-old high school student from New Jersey who she is already making a name for herself in both the science and technology communities. Wong has developed a Bluetooth-enabled device that allows for remote cardiac examination.

No More Zoo Of Broken 3D Printed Objects - A New Software Will Give Them Strength!
Objects created using 3-D printing have a common flaw: They are fragile and often fall apart or lose their shape. "I have an entire zoo of broken 3-D printed objects in my office," said Bedrich Benes, an associate professor of computer graphics at Purdue University.

Become A Rocket Scientist And Space Cargo Pilot With NASA's Free HIAD App!
Have you ever wanted to become a rocket scientist or space cargo pilot? How about mixing space science with a game? Want to try your hand at landing an inflatable spacecraft? All you need is a smart phone, a computer or a tablet.

W3Counter