back to article Astroboffins discover rapid 'electric winds' blowing on Venus

A team of planetary scientists has found that an 'electric wind' whisks away water in Venus' atmosphere, which explains why the terrestrial planet is so dry, according to new research published in Geophysical Research Letters. Venus, the second planet from the Sun, has a thick atmosphere surrounded by hazy clouds. It is the …

  1. Filippo

    I keep getting awed by how weird stuff in space can be. And this is just the stuff we can see from here.

  2. Alan J. Wylie
    Coffee/keyboard

    "It's amazing and shocking,"

    Groan.

  3. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
    Joke

    So is Venus

    the ultimate BOFH planet? After all, its atmosphere is acidic enough and hot enough to dispose of bodies, and it seems like a planetary cattle prod: >KZZEERRT<

    More seriously, excellent astro-boffinry!

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: So is Venus

      More seriously, excellent astro-boffinry!

      I'm impressed that the term "boffin" was used. Another article by the same author today used the term 'scientist' everywhere but failed the 'boffin test'.

      1. Ole Juul

        Re: So is Venus

        "Another article by the same author today used the term 'scientist' everywhere but failed the 'boffin test'."

        So we should put boffin on our checklist of Reg authenticity.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: So is Venus

          In memory of the esteemed Lester Haines, El Reg ought to remove "scientists" for their editorial spell checking dictionary and set it to auto-suggest "boffin" as the default correction.

  4. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    Endless wonder.

    And yes, good idea to put this on the checklist.

  5. Chris G Silver badge

    Bloody great battery

    Considering the atmosphere in the upper levels consists of a large percentage of sulphuric acid and the 'snow observed in some photos seems to be lead sulphide, I would suggest that Venus is one planetary sized battery which may help to account for it's strong electric field.

    Perhaps we could hook up to it and tow it into Earth's orbit around the sun, trailing behind us with a giant cable to supply us with power.

    1. PK

      Re: Bloody great battery

      If it does that to oceans, I'm not sure you want to "earth" this battery

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bloody great battery

        I'm not sure you want to "earth" this battery

        Out there, I assume you would venus it

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One for the Electric Universe

    One for the Electric Universe crowd.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: One for the Electric Universe

      I was wondering if there would be a post about this. I imagine their forums are buzzing about this discovery and there are a lot of "I told you so" and "we will be proven right eventually"...

    2. Faux Science Slayer

      Re: One for the Electric Universe

      Electric Universe is spot on science, see Dr Pierre's Corbyn on "Reality of Long Range Weather"....

      and Dr Pierre-Marie Robialle " On the Validity of Kirchoff"....

    3. John Gamble

      Re: One for the Electric Universe

      "One for the Electric Universe crowd."

      What?

      [performs web search]

      Oh good grief. I note that the originator and the primary advocates are people who are working outside their specialty, which is not irrevocably damaging in and of itself, but it's not a good sign either.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Oh the irony

        Someone with the handle "Faux science slayer" claiming the electric universe is solid science!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Venus did harbor water... but it was boiled away as its surface temp rose to 470 deg

    Interesting stuff... Sometimes I feel this is where the earth is going (causes of climate change aside). It makes me question why so many people flock to places like Dubai to buy apartments etc. Am I just heat sensitive or is this plain nuts? Some scientists are saying parts of the ME will be uninhabitable by 2050...

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Venus did harbor water... but it was boiled away as its surface temp rose to 470 deg

      "Some scientists are saying parts of the ME will be uninhabitable by 2050..."

      For normal people, some parts are already uninhabitable.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: Venus did harbor water... but it was boiled away as its surface temp rose to 470 deg

        Ridiculous. A few degrees warmer doesn't equate to "uninhabitable" considering many consider it quite habitable now. Or is someone now making ridiculous predictions of a 10 or 20 degree rise in 34 years?

        1. hattivat

          Re: Venus did harbor water... but it was boiled away as its surface temp rose to 470 deg

          The only thing that makes it habitable for most of these people is air conditioning (and opulent salaries, obviously). At the beginning of the 20th century, only 25 000 people found Quatar habitable enough to live there, whereas today the population is at 2.5 million, a 100-fold increase. I've been to Dubai in summer and everything seemed to be geared towards eliminating any exposure to outside air, with people shuttling in air-conditioned cars from their air-conditioned houses to their air-conditioned parking spots underneath their air-conditioned offices. Now I know that sounds a lot like what many people in the West are doing, but in the Gulf they take it to a whole new level - even their bus stops are all air-conditioned, and before the global recession put an end to the worst excesses, there were serious plans to create a refrigerated beach in Dubai. Yes, seriously.

          You're right that a few degrees warmer won't make much difference to the air conditioners, though.

        2. vir

          Re: Venus did harbor water... but it was boiled away as its surface temp rose to 470 deg

          They're already bumping up against uninhabitable during heat waves. The big milestone is a wet-bulb temperature of 35C, above which sweating is ineffective, making it lethal in less than 6 hours. Some places have already come very close to this. With a projected 4-degree rise in 100 years, many places in the region would regularly have heat waves (plus extra humidity) exceeding this temperature and "normal" temperatures would be rather close. Here's an article:

          https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/oct/26/extreme-heatwaves-could-push-gulf-climate-beyond-human-endurance-study-shows

    2. Ogi

      Re: Venus did harbor water... but it was boiled away as its surface temp rose to 470 deg

      The earth is going in that direction regardless of what we are doing. As the sun ages (on its way to a red giant) it will swell up, increasing surface temperatures on earth until we end up looking like Mercury (and may be eventually absorbed by the sun).

      Of course, this is on phenomenal time scales, so we will not notice the gradual temp increase ourselves.

  8. cosymart
    Thumb Up

    Check List!

    There is a check list for when we go looking for another planet to inhabit/wreck, wow!

  9. IT Poser

    Planetary electric field?

    Having just discovered the concept I am curious if we could use this electric field to generate a proper magnetic field, like Earth has, on Mars using a satellite network. It appears the electric fields have similar strength.

    1. Uffish

      Re: Planetary electric field?

      First, it's current that produces magnetic fields not voltage. I suppose you could nevertheless get a reasonable current flowing, somehow.

      Second, varying magnetic fields induce voltages/currents in conductors including any ionized parts of the atmosphere and, I suppose, the core of Mars which used to produce a magnetic field before it stopped. You may or may not want to include some form of current stabilisation.

      Third. That's it really, nothing to it, good luck with the build ! (Less sarcastically, I believe such a project to be permanently ruled out on cost / benefit grounds).

      1. IT Poser

        Re: Planetary electric field?

        I'm not Musk so I wouldn't be trying anyway. If I ever do come across the resources I will be building my volcano lair in Ascraeus Mons. The magnetic field would only be needed to protect my surface installations.

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