What blocks ultraviolet light in the atmosphere of Venus?

The atmosphere of Venus absorbs more ultraviolet light than scientists expected. The last believe that the reason for this is the presence of a disulfur in the atmosphere. They used calculations to show how it is formed.

What chemical compound absorbs ultraviolet light?

Venus is shrouded in a dense cocoon of clouds, consisting mainly of sulfur-containing compounds. They reflect most of the rays both from the outside and from the inside. This leads to two consequences: the catastrophic greenhouse effect and the beautiful glint of this planet in our sky.

However, in the radiation that reaches from Venus to spacecraft and ground observers, less ultraviolet reaches than it should be based on modern ideas about its chemical composition. So, there is an unknown absorber of this wavelength in its atmosphere.

Scientists have suggested that this unknown absorber may be disulfur. This substance consists of two sulfuric atoms joined together. It not only effectively absorbs ultraviolet light, but can turn into other compounds that do it even better.

Allotropic forms of sulfur

Sulfur has many varieties consisting of four or even eight atoms of this element connected together. They are called its allotropic forms. Scientists have come to the conclusion that complex processes occur in the atmosphere of Venus, during which some sulfuric compounds turn into others.

The reason why allotropic sulfur has not yet been considered as an ultraviolet absorber on Venus is that it is believed that it cannot be formed in sufficient quantities from individual atoms. In addition, experiments with mixtures of sulfur, chlorine and oxygen are extremely difficult and dangerous. This time, scientists have resorted to mathematical methods of modeling the atmosphere of our neighbor.

They were able to find a simpler way to form a disulfur than its direct synthesis from individual atoms. Sulfur has several oxides, which are present in large quantities in the atmosphere of Venus. One of them — SO2 under the influence of solar radiation easily decays into two others: SO and S2O. And already they, interacting with each other, can turn into various allotropic forms, including disulfur.

So far, the proposed model of an ultraviolet absorber in the atmosphere of Venus remains theoretical. Scientists are waiting for the end of complex laboratory studies that will confirm this theory or refute it.

According to www.space.com

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