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Ovda Regio in the western half of Aphrodite Terra, Venus.
Credit: JPL/NASA/California Institute of Technology.

Dione's Daughter
Jul 08, 2010

Instead of a birth at sea, rising up out of the foam, Aphrodite appears to have been born of a fiery furnace.

On April 11, 2006, ESA's Venus Express entered orbit around the enigmatic planetary inferno. The mission is designed to explore the upper atmosphere and the "mysterious" ultraviolet bands in the cloud tops, as well as why those high altitude clouds rage at hurricane force. It is a puzzle to planetary scientists, because the atmosphere at the surface moves sluggishly.

Images obtained by various Russian Venera-class landing vehicles revealed a rock-strewn, sandy terrain with low hills in the distance. Venera 14's instruments felt what would be called on Earth a light breeze, with an average wind speed of only 0.3 to 1.0 meters per second. Venus Express hopes to resolve this issue by conducting long-term atmospheric circulation studies.

Venus is 12,100 kilometers in diameter, about 1000 kilometers smaller than Earth. Its gravitational acceleration is 8.1 meters per second per second, or 90% of that on Earth. The surface temperature has been measured to be 500º Celsius, with an atmosphere that is composed almost entirely of carbon dioxide and a small amount of nitrogen. The atmospheric pressure is 90 times greater than our planet. A human being standing in the open on Venus would be instantly reduced to a smear of gray ash.

The Magellan spacecraft, which entered orbit on August 10, 1990, mapped over 80% of the planet, uncovering another mystery for NASA scientists: mountaintops on Venus glowed brightly in the radar light used to see through the cloud layers. Why this is so cannot be explained with conventional theories, so other speculations were proposed: lead precipitation coating the mountains in metallic shells, or a chemical reaction that forms pyrite.

Physicist and Electric Universe advocate Wal Thornhill disagrees, seeing the anomalous reflectivity as part of the electrical environment on Venus:

"St. Elmo's fire is a highly ionised state involving actual discharge. Put the two together and you have dense plasma—which conducts like a metal and therefore reflects radar like a metal surface. The thickness of such a plasma would have no more effect on radar reflectivity than the thickness of a metal sheet would. Since the plasma would coat the surface rocks (whatever their composition), the radar return would be an enhanced version of that being received from nearby, uncoated, electromagnetically dissipative rocks, and would be greater than that returned from fool's gold [pyrite]. I consider my hypothesis is simpler than one relying on chemical or physical changes in rocks of unknown composition.”

Gigantic fissures with radial grooves are carved into the Venusian surface in great swirling arcs. In three-dimensional imagery, they are depressions with raised central peaks surrounded by "moats," similar to those observed on Mars. The so-called "coronae" are not the only comparable formations between Venus and other celestial bodies.

In the image at the top of the page, Lo Shen Vallis appears remarkably similar to carved channels on Mars, as well as on its moon Phobos. Ma’adim Vallis in the Terra Cimmeria region of Mars is a 20 kilometer wide, 2 kilometer deep, 700 kilometer long channel, said to be created by water millions of years ago. On Venus, however, no one thinks that there was ever flowing water available to cut vast chasms with vertical walls and flat floors, so what made them?

In Electric Universe terms, theories about Venus and how its surface was shaped must include electricity as a defining factor. In the high density Venusian atmosphere, electric arcs might have carved the geographical structures in the same way as those on Mars. Energetic plasma discharges leave “arachnoids” on Venus that resemble “spiders” on Mars, but are far larger and more pronounced.

Electric currents in a thick atmosphere tend to branch out into filaments, some of which spin concentric circles around the primary discharge. Other filaments radiate outward. Together, they etch structures that look like a spiderweb, which is why they are called “arachnoids”. Spider-like features are largely found incised along Venus' equator.

Pits and craters produced by electricity are circular because electromagnetic fields will only allow an arc to impinge on a surface at a right angle. Electric arcs are filamentary, rotating around the central discharge channel, as mentioned above. Surface material is machined away and pulled out, leaving behind steep sides and flat floors with little or no blast debris. Often, the center of the circular formation will be "pinched up," as found in many lunar craters.

Should the electric arc move laterally, it might excise a line of craters in a chain. If they overlap, they will consolidate into a steep-sided trench with scalloped edges. The trench might run for some distance before jumping to another conductive point, where it will electrically erode another long, winding valley, often terminating in a crater. Some valleys have large craters in their middles.

As highlighted in previous Picture of the Day articles, lightning of strength sufficient to excavate craters that measure up to 100 kilometers in diameter, or slice open 700 kilometer gashes, is no longer active on Venus, although it might exist on some of the Solar System's many moons.

Lightning bolts scaled up to continental or planetary dimensions are beyond modern imagination, since activity on that level has never been observed. However, the forensic evidence left behind on Venus, Earth, Mars, and the Moon demonstrates that it will behave the same as it does when confined in laboratory plasma experiments.

Stephen Smith



"The Cosmic Thunderbolt"

YouTube video, first glimpses of Episode Two in the "Symbols of an Alien Sky" series.


And don't forget: "The Universe Electric"

Three ebooks in the Universe Electric series are now available. Consistently praised for easily understandable text and exquisite graphics.

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  Thunderbolts of the Gods

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Authors David Talbott and Wallace Thornhill introduce the reader to an age of planetary instability and earthshaking electrical events in ancient times. If their hypothesis is correct, it could not fail to alter many paths of scientific investigation.
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Professor of engineering Donald Scott systematically unravels the myths of the "Big Bang" cosmology, and he does so without resorting to black holes, dark matter, dark energy, neutron stars, magnetic "reconnection", or any other fictions needed to prop up a failed theory.
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In language designed for scientists and non-scientists alike, authors Wallace Thornhill and David Talbott show that even the greatest surprises of the space age are predictable patterns in an electric universe.
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The opinions expressed in the Thunderbolts Picture Of the Day are those of the authors of
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EXECUTIVE EDITORS: David Talbott, Wallace Thornhill
CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Michael Armstrong, Dwardu Cardona,
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