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A natural radio signal was detected in the atmosphere of Venus.

Venus, captured by the Parker Solar Probe in July 2020

Venus, captured by the Parker Solar Probe in July 2020.
image: A. NASA / Johns Hopkins APL / Marine Research Laboratory / Guillermo Stenborg and Brendan Gallagher

During the third Venus flyby, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe recorded natural radio emissions from within the Venusian atmosphere.The discovery confirms that Venus’ upper atmosphere underwent massive changes following the moon’s 11-year cycle. The Sun, providing new insights into a mysterious and hostile Earth-like planet.

The Parker Solar Probe is designed to study the sun. But some of the best works have orbited Venus. The spacecraft launched in 2018 using Venus’ gravity to get closer to the Sun. These flies will eventually keep Parker within 4.3 million miles (6.9 million kilometers) from our host star, allowing the probe to study the solar wind and corona.

These gravitational aids have been proven to be effective because Parker’s tools are intelligently used in the study of Venus. The recently acquired data allows astronomers to Arrest Our first full view of Venus’ orbital dust rings and – quite unexpectedly – to see through clouds and See the picture The fragile surface of the planets

And now new Research Published in Geophysical Research, Parker was able to discover natural radio emissions from within Venus’ atmosphere.Glyn Collinson, a Venus expert from the Heliophysics Science Division at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, is leading the new research.

Parker took a reading on July 11, 2020, which was conducting a third Venus flyby. Astronomers are using these moments to study planets for a collective reason, as we still have a lot to learn about this planet, which is very similar to ours in terms of size, chemical composition and internal position. solar system But it became famous when the world was full of life, Venus was a scorching hell

The likely reason for this great difference is that Earth has a protective magnetic field and Venus doesn’t. Our magnetic field can be a contributing factor to our habitability, as it prevents our atmosphere from escaping into space. At least that’s the theory. For this reason, Venus without a magnetic field should have an atmosphere that leaks out into space during intense solar activity. The problem is, ground-based observations have shown the opposite of this, revealing the thinner ionosphere, the top of the atmosphere during the Sun’s motion. Minimal It presents an important puzzle

That’s why the third Venus flyby, which Parker entered 517 miles (833 km) over a period of seven minutes, measured Venus’s top atmosphere, which was done using the FIELDS instrument. On an airplane (this tool will later be used to study the electric and magnetic fields of the sun), unlike your car radio, it scans all internal radio frequencies simultaneously.

Collinson had no idea how to recreate Parker’s data, but then he remembered seeing something similar from NASA’s Galileo spacecraft, which explored Jupiter and its moons. The frown-like signal that Parker detects is the same as the one that Galileo picked up as the probe passed through the Jovian moon’s ionosphere.

Parker Solar Probe, CollinThe son realized it had traveled through Venus ‘atmosphere, taking the first direct measurements of Venus’ atmosphere in nearly 30 years.The ad has detected natural low-frequency radio emissions related to the planet’s ionosphere – an atmospheric region filled with plasma or electrically charged gas.

These radio emissions allowed Collinson to calculate the ionosphere density of Venus, or at least part of the ionosphere Parker explored. His team compared this discovery to data recorded by NASA’s Pioneer Venus Orbiter.

When the Pioneer rover visited Venus in 1992, the sun was near the peak of its activity in the 11-year solar cycle. “The great thing about Parker is that its flyby happened six months after the solar minimum.” Collinson explains during a phone interview he “nailed the ionosphere” during this time.

“We were able to prove a mathematically significant difference between this atmosphere and that Pioneer saw years ago,” adds Collinson.

The data showed that Venus’ atmosphere was much thinner compared to previous measurements at the solar peak, in fact confirming observations by ground telescopes.

“By measuring the frequency of this emission, we can directly calculate the density of the ionosphere around Parker, found to be much less dense than previous missions,” the scientists wrote in the journal. Their paper “This supports the theory that Venus’ ionosphere atmosphere varies greatly during the 11-year solar cycle.”

The team “was able to confirm what we had previously speculated on telemetry,” explains Collinson.

So it’s a very good result. “Variance is expected,” Collinson said. But now planetary scientists have a big mystery at hand: why is this happening? Venus appears, likely leaking the atmosphere, causing the plasma to escape into space. But not during the time when the sun is most active.

“This tells us we don’t really understand how Earth’s closest sister planet works,” Collinson said. “This is an indication that there are Earth-like planets experiencing massive changes in the atmosphere. The upper floor reveals a mechanism that we do not fully understand. ”

Collinson says the new information provides “tantalizing clues about how Venus works,” and we should now compare it to how things work on Earth. By doing so, we may be able to understand “what makes the planet so livable and why we are here,” not on Venus, he said.

over: A. This new image of Venus shouldn’t really exist..

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