Feeds

Venus Express reveals double-eyed storm at planet's pole

First results looking good

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

The first scientific results are already beaming back from the European Space Agency's Venus Express mission.

After spending nine days in an elongated orbit around the planet in April, the spacecraft has confirmed the existence of a huge double vortex atmospheric system at the south pole of the planet.

Venus Express made its observations shortly after arriving at the planet, when it was initially captured into the elongated orbit. This path took it between 350,000km and 400km from the planet's surface, giving scientists the opportunity for both close study, and an extended, but still distant view of the surface.

It has been known for a long time that extremely high speed winds blow westwards around the planet - they take just four days to cover the entire globe. Coupled with the recycling of the very hot atmosphere, this super-rotation is expected to produce a vortex over each pole.

Although previous missions had seen the expected atmospheric disturbances at both poles, only the north pole had been studied in any detail, and the double-eye structure had never been seen before.

"We still know very little about the mechanisms by which the super-rotation and the polar vortexes are linked," ESA Venus Express project scientist Håkan Svedhem said.

"Also, we are still not able to explain why the global atmospheric circulation of the planet results in a double and not single vortex formation at the poles. However, the mission is just at the beginning and it's doing fine; we expect this and many other long-standing mysteries to be addressed and possibly solved by Venus Express."

Venus Express has collected data in the visible, infrared and ultraviolet spectra. Each reveals something new about the planet. The infrared images, for example, reveal more details of the cloud structure than has been seen before, while the ultraviolet views show striking bands in the southern hemisphere's skies. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Seattle children’s accelerates Citrix login times by 500% with cross-tier insight
Seattle Children’s is a leading research hospital with a large and growing Citrix XenDesktop deployment. See how they used ExtraHop to accelerate launch times.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Protecting against web application threats using SSL
SSL encryption can protect server‐to‐server communications, client devices, cloud resources, and other endpoints in order to help prevent the risk of data loss and losing customer trust.