Planetary Science

Why the “Y” in the Venusian sky?

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Science  20 Feb 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6224, pp. 837
DOI: 10.1126/science.347.6224.837-f

Venus has its own version of Jupiter's Great Red Spot, an enormous Y-shaped feature which comes and goes on a monthly cycle. The origin and stability of the atmospheric feature, visible only in ultraviolet photographs, have perplexed observers for decades. Peralta et al. take a fresh look at this persistent structure with an updated analytic atmospheric model. A wind-distorted equatorial wave reproduces the morphology, darkness, and time evolution of the “Y.” The model should be applicable to the atmospheres of other slowly rotating bodies, in our solar system and beyond.

Geophys. Res. Lett. 10.1002/2014GL062280 (2014).

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