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Universität zu Köln
Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät
Fachgruppe Physik

I. Physikalisches Institut

Venus Weather Not Boring After All, NASA/International Study Shows

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THIS team and NASA GSFC collaborators reveal interesting details about the Venus mesosphere. "The mesosphere and thermosphere of Venus are dynamically active," said lead author Dr. Guido Sonnabend of the University of Cologne, Germany. "Wind patterns resulting from solar heating and east to west zonal winds compete, possibly resulting in altered local temperatures and their variability over time." The teams measured temperature and wind speeds in Venus' upper atmosphere by observing an infrared glow emitted by carbon dioxide (CO2) molecules when they were energized by light from the sun. The width of the line revealed the temperature, while shifts in its frequency gave the wind speed.

The researchers compared observations from 1990 and 1991 using Goddard's Infrared Heterodyne Spectrometer instrument at NASA's Infrared Telescope Facility on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, to observations from 2009 using the Cologne Tunable Heterodyne Infrared Spectrometer instrument at the National Optical Astronomy Observatory's McMath Telescope at Kitt Peak, Ariz.

Full NASA press release can be found here.