When the gods dance...

Thursday, June 20, 2013

'Super-Hurricane' Force Winds Inexplicably Get Stronger

Mystery on Venus: 'Super-Hurricane' Force Winds Inexplicably Get Stronger

Date: 18 June 2013 Time: 03:29 PM ET
Cloud Features Seen on Venus
This false-color image of cloud features seen on Venus by the Venus Monitoring Camera (VMC) on the European Space Agency's Venus Express. The image was captured from a distance of 30,000 km on December 8, 2011. Venus Express has been in orbit around the planet since 2006.
The howling, hurricane-force winds of Venus are blowing even faster lately, and scientists aren't sure why.
Average cloud-top wind speeds on Venus rose 33 percent between 2006 and 2012, jumping from 186 mph (300 km/h) to 249 mph (400 km/h), observations by Europe's Venus Express orbiter show.
"This is an enormous increase in the already high wind speeds known in the atmosphere," Igor Khatuntsev of the Space Research Institute in Moscow said in a statement. "Such a large variation has never before been observed on Venus, and we do not yet understand why this occurred." [Mysterious Venus: 10 Weird Facts]

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