For more than 40 years, scientists have been arguing about whether lightning exists on Venus. Previously, the so-called electromagnetic whistler waves testified in favor of their existence. However, the data collected by Parker Solar Probe suggests that electrical discharges may have nothing to do with it.
Lightning on Venus
The study, conducted by a team from the University of Colorado at Boulder, the University of West Virginia, the University of California at Los Angeles and the University of California at Berkeley, has forced a new look at what is happening in the atmosphere of the planet closest to us.
In 1978, NASA’s Pioneer Venus spacecraft arrived there. It is already known that this planet is covered with a thick layer of clouds, and under them lies a red-hot and unhabitable atmosphere for humans. Therefore, the probe conducted a study of the electromagnetic field and found the so-called whistlers, or whistler waves.
These oscillations occur at a frequency from 1 to 30 kHz and get their name due to the fact that radio amateurs hear them on the air as a whistle. Whistler waves can be caused by various reasons, but on Earth, lightning is the main cause of them.
No one has seen the lightning on Venus. However, most scientists agree that the cause of whistler waves is electrical discharges that hide from us in the thickness of clouds. The other researchers did not agree with this. And now the skeptics have found arguments in their favor.
Mysterious processes in the atmosphere
Scientists analyzed data collected by the Parker Solar Probe in 2021 during the close transit of Venus in a new study. More advanced than on Pioneer Venus, the equipment confirmed the existence of whistler waves, but they were somehow strange.
On Earth and other planets where the existence of lightning is confirmed, it radiates upward, that is, into space. And here, on the contrary, they were directed to the surface. This leads us to assume that not ordinary lightning is responsible for their occurrence, but some other electromagnetic phenomena.
Scientists don’t know what it can be. But they suspect that the reason for them may be reconnections of the magnetic field lines of the planet, which from time to time twist in a rather bizarre way and break.
However, all this does not mean that there is no lightning on Venus. Perhaps they are still there, but a few of them. The final point in this question can be put by future research.
According to www.sciencealert.com.
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