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Wind hitting Venus's mountains makes the planet rotate faster

20 June 2018

While a Venusian day is longer than a Venusian year: the day lasts 243 earth days, while a year is 225 days.

It is already known that the planet Venus spins a bit weirdly and until now the researchers were unable to find out the span of one day on the planet.

Venusian air is so thick that its raging winds push the atmosphere around the planet faster than the planet itself. Now astronomers argue that the interaction of the mountains and atmosphere of Venus can also increase the duration of the day. The structure was seen with the Japanese spacecraft "akatsuki" in 2015 and over the multi-day observations remained stable, despite the turbulence around.

But the atmosphere of Venus is quite impressing and speedy because the clouds on top of the Venusian mountains revolves around the planet once every four Earth days. When the atmosphere-traveling at 100 meters per second-hits mountains on Venus's surface, it seems to create enough push and pull to alter the planet's rotation, accelerating it by about 2 minutes per day, researchers report this week in Nature Geoscience. In this new effort, the researchers suggest they might have found at least one of the characteristics causing the planet to spin at variable speeds, and it has to do with atmospheric circulation. In such circumstances, the existence of a stable gravitational waves would be impossible. It has a retrograde rotation - meaning it, like Uranus, rotates in the opposite direction to the rotation of the Sun, unlike most planets in our Solar System.

The author of the study, Thomas Navarro at the University of California, said in a statement, "Overall, a net force is exerted on the mountain, and the whole solid body follows". They then ran the simulation. From there, researchers were able to determine that a gravity wave caused by the winds is running up against the mountains.

Although two minutes is a very small change in the grand scheme of things, the researchers explained that the finding was noteworthy beyond that, as studying the gravity waves could be key in helping scientists figure out the intricacies of the Venusian atmosphere, while also providing a greater understanding of weather events on Earth.

Navarro and his colleagues found that gave rise to such discrepancies in the measurements of probe, studying another curious mystery of Venus - the mysterious "standing wave" with a length of 10 thousand kilometers, open probe "akatsuki" immediately after his arrival at the orbit of Venus in early 2016.

Wind hitting Venus's mountains makes the planet rotate faster