Resonance Rotation of Venus

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Science  28 Jul 1967:
Vol. 157, Issue 3787, pp. 423-425
DOI: 10.1126/science.157.3787.423

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Combination of two types of radar data shows the orbital plane and equator of Venus to be included by less than 2 degrees, and the sidereal rotation period to be 243.09 ± 0.18 days (retrograde)—remarkably close to the 243.16-day period for which the spin would be in resonance with the relative orbital motions of Earth and Venus. In this resonance, Venus would make, on average, four axial rotations as seen by an Earth observer between successive close approaches of the two planets. Estimates of the instantaneous spin period, accurate within about 0.01 day, would provide important information on the difference of Venus's equatorial moments of inertia, on their orientation, and on the magnitude of the tidal torque exerted on Venus by the sun.