picture of the day
Sacajawea Patera, Venus.
Credit: NASA/JPL Magellan Mission
Nov 30, 2007
Aphrodite's Blazing Mane
Lightning bolts have "unexpectedly" been
discovered arcing through the atmosphere of Venus. Electric
Universe advocates predicted such activity long ago.
announcement by the European Space Agency (ESA) has
called attention to the "surprising" electrical activity
taking place on the planet Venus. Electric discharges were
detected in the planet's upper atmosphere by the
Venus Express orbiter that has been circling the
cloud-shrouded orb since April 11, 2006. The discovery was
completely unexpected because, until now, the density of the
Venusian atmosphere was thought to
prevent the formation of lightning bolts.
According to Dr.
Donald Gurnett, a physicist at the University of Iowa and a
member of the Cassini-Huygens mission team:
exists in the Venusian atmosphere, it is either extremely
rare, or very different from terrestrial lightning. If
terrestrial-like lightning were occurring in the atmosphere
of Venus within the region viewed by Cassini, it would have
been easily detectable."
spacecraft circled Venus on its way to explore the Saturnian
system. In order to save fuel, NASA engineers sent Cassini
on a trajectory that flew it twice around Venus so that it
could receive a "gravity
assist" from the planet. During those flybys, Cassini
monitored the cloud tops and found no evidence that
Earth-like lightning was taking place.
mission specialists did realize that the discharges on Venus
could be of a lower frequency than lightning on our planet
because radio signals cannot penetrate the ionosphere at
frequencies below one megahertz. Therefore, they were unable
to make a definitive statement about plasma discharges.
Express has found low-frequency EMR that appears in bursts
lasting fractions of a second. Called "whistlers", the
bursts are considered a sure sign of electric discharges. A
whistler is an extremely low-frequency electro-acoustic wave
that is normally generated by lightning. They are called
"whistlers" because they demonstrate a characteristically
decreasing frequency falloff in detection equipment. In some
short-wave radio transmissions, the whistle can be heard
while tuning between stations.
detection of "whistlers", scientists can now make that
this to be the first definitive evidence of abundant
lightning on Venus," said David Grinspoon from the Denver
Museum of Nature and Science.
previous Thunderbolts Picture of the Day, we noted that
the optical spectrum of Venus resembles that of a gas
discharge tube similar to a neon lamp. Astrophysicists are
unable to explain the contradictions that inevitably result
when trying to explain the data based on greenhouses and
smog, but the electrical explanation covers all the bases.
Indeed, the atmospheric composition of Venus seems to
the presence of intense lightning in order to form the
sulfurous compounds that are present. No chemistry on
Earth or Venus can explain the depth and density of the
sulfuric acid clouds and abundant carbon dioxide.
in the infrared with twice the energy it receives from the
sun, so there must be a source for that heat. Venus has an
extremely weak magnetic field and no magnetosphere but it
does possess an ionosphere, so it is an electrically charged
body. The ionosphere is prickly with Birkeland currents that
carry electricity from the "solar wind" (actually a stream
of ions ejected by the sun's electromagnetic field) into the
Venusian environment. With so much
electrical energy pumping into it, it may be that the
planet is constantly charging and discharging with an
act as transmission lines moving energy from the sun and
planets over the entire solar system and ultimately,
throughout interstellar space. Venus is not really separate
from the sun, but acts as an element in the vast electrical
circuit that powers the stars. Plasma discharges in that
scenario are not so "unexpected".
In the image at
the top of the page, many examples of electric discharge
machining can be seen. The crater rim is elongated and
clearly shows the marks of multiple rings. There are sinuous
rilles in the surrounding terrain much like those on
Europa and other celestial bodies. We have theorized
many times in these pages that such formations are the
result of tremendous lightning bolts that seared them into
the surface like a plasma torch.
Because of the
observational data and the ideas put forth by such
luminaries as Langmuir and Alfven, lightning on Venus was
expected and predicted by Electric Universe theorists.
By Stephen Smith
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