Astronomers have discovered poisonous clouds around Venus. These clouds reportedly extend across the equator to both the north and south mid-latitudes, stretching up to 7,500 km.
They sweep across the planet at relatively low altitudes between 47.5 and 56.5 kilometres. The unique thing about this phenomenon is that it has not been witnessed anywhere else in the Solar System.
The clouds move around the planet once every 4.9 days at a velocity of around 328 kmph. The planet-scale wall of the cloud has been travelling westward around Venus since 1983.
The findings of the astronomers were published in Geophysical Research Letters.
That’s incredible. If this happened on Earth, this would be a frontal surface at the scale of the planet," said astrophysicist Pedro Machado of the Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences in Portugal.
A team of researchers led by physicist Javier Peralta of the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA), while examining infrared images captured by Japanese Venus orbiter Akatsuki between 2016 and 2018, noticed a feature which appeared like an atmospheric wave.
But, the feature was spotted at an unprecedented altitude.
The study revealed that the new feature was different and much deeper than any atmospheric wave ever seen before on Venus. It occurred in the cloud layer responsible for the greenhouse effect.
This layer makes the surface of the planet too hot.
However, scientists have not found what causes this phenomenon.
"This atmospheric disruption is a new meteorological phenomenon, unseen on other planets.
Because of this, it is yet difficult to provide a confident physical interpretation," Peralta said.