Lightning on Venus?
Astronomers have suspected lightning on Venus for nearly three decades, and now have found proof of its reality.
A magnetic antenna on the European SPace Agency's Venus Express prob that has been orbiting for 20 months has proven the lightning to be real.
"In addition to all the pressure and heat, we can confirm there is lightning on Venus, maybe even more activity than there is here on Earth," said Christopher Russell, a NASA-sponsored scientist on Venus Express from the University of California, Los Angeles, and lead author of one of the Nature papers. "Not a very good place to vacation, that is for sure." http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071128155513.htm
The idea is fascinating, said University of California, Los Angeles geophysics Prof. C.T. Russell, lead author of a paper in today's journal Nature. http://www.startribune.com/722/story/1579680.html
"It's significant because lightning affects atmospheric chemistry, so scientists will have to take it into account. There's also the 'wow' factor. Venus' weather forecasts thought to be "boring ... steady winds for the next 400 years,"until now said senior scientist Allan Treiman of the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston. http://www.startribune.com/722/story/1579680.html
According to Space Today, the lightning found on Venus may be related to volcanic activity on the surface. http://www.spacetoday.org/SolSys/Venus/VenusLightning.html
The probe has also shown Venus and Earth to be quite similar in many ways: size, mass and carbon dioxide amounts. Said Russell, "It may be Earth's 'evil twin,' but it is in many respects Earth's twin." http://www.startribune.com/722/story/1579680.html
Venus, 30 percent closer to the sun, is 900 degrees hotter than Earth's surface and lost nearly all its water. http://www.startribune.com/722/story/1579680.html
The confirming measurements of the lightning from the electrical discharges were made with data obtained by the Venus Express magnetometer instrument which was provided by the Space Research Institute in Graz, Austria.