Thursday, February 16, 2012

Venusian Slow Down?

Hey Space Placers!

Here's a news flash from Venus.....the planet's rotation may be slowing down. Venus is currently visible high in the west right after sunset. The cloud covered world has been visited by several spacecraft over the years and the Russians actually landed probes on the hellish surface.

The European Space Agency's (ESA) Venus Express spacecraft has discovered that Venus is indeed rotating slower than was previously measured. The latest measurements were made of surface features that showed they weren't exactly where they should have been based upon the established rotation rate of the planet. There was a displacement of 20 km.

The established rotation rate was determined by NASA's Magellan spacecraft in the 1990's and using that rate Venus Express found that the rotation rate now, some 16 years later, is 6.5 minutes longer. Further studies will help refine the rate and determine why this is happening.

Read More About It:

Venus Express
ESA Venus Express (ESA)

Sky Guy in VA

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