Scientists mystified why the rate of rotation on Venus is slowing

February 22, 2012SPACE Planet lovers take note: Venus is spinning even slower than astronomers thought, according to new data from a European space probe. In the early 1990s scientists with NASA’s Magellan mission calculated that a single rotation of Venus takes 243.015 Earth days, based on the speed of surface features passing beneath the orbiting spacecraft. But scientists now mapping Venus’s surface with the European Space Agency’s Venus Express orbiter were surprised to find the same features up to 12.4 miles (20 kilometers) from where they were expected to be, based on the previous measurements. According to the new data, Venus is rotating 6.5 minutes slower than it was 16 years ago, a result that’s been found to correlate with long-term radar observations taken from Earth. “When the two maps did not align, I first thought there was a mistake in my calculations, as Magellan measured the value [of Venus’s spin] very accurately,” Nils Müller, a planetary scientist at the DLR German Aerospace Centre, said in a statement. “But we have checked every possible error we could think of.” Planet Slowed by Dense Atmosphere? One possible cause for the slowed spin is friction caused by Venus’ thick atmosphere and high-speed winds. The motion of the atmosphere on Earth, for example, has been observed to affect the planet’s rotation rate, albeit to a much smaller degree. Thanks to a heavy blanket of carbon dioxide-laden air, the surface pressure on Venus is 90 times what we experience on Earth at sea level, and opaque clouds of caustic sulphuric acid constantly whip around the planet at hurricane speeds. Still, “it is difficult to find a mechanism that will cause the average rotation rate to change this much in only 16 years,” Venus Express project scientist Håkan Svedhem told National Geographic News. “The origin of this could lay in the solar cycle or in long-term weather patterns that modify the atmospheric dynamics. But this puzzle is not yet solved.” Some reports cite an exchange of angular momentum between Venus and Earth as a possible cause for the variation. A moon, for example, can cause a planet to rotate slower than expected, because both objects share angular momentum. –National Geographic
contribution Tim
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20 Responses to Scientists mystified why the rate of rotation on Venus is slowing

  1. stewart says:


    Any ideas on why this is happening?


    • MF

      It could be a number of reasons. If it’s atmospheric as NASA claims, which I doubt very seriously…what’s increased cloud cover? Volcanoes over-gassing the planet…which means volcanism is increasing on Venus, and quakes are increasing on Mars, both of which I wrote about was taking place on these planets in my book. Venus is the same size as Earth but it’s in retrograde rotation meaning it spins in a direction opposite to the direction of Earth. Venus inclinational tilt is also 177 degrees which is likely indication that planet has flipped over and may have experienced a rolling shift of mass which spun it in the opposite direction. Uranus has undergone something similar and is practically laying on its side. We have to go back 16 years and overlay what factors have changed and look for corelation-ships. 16 years, puts us back to 1996 and that’s about the time the migration of the Earth’s magnetic north pole also began to rapidly accelerate- so this could be something affecting the entire solar system.


      • nickk0 says:

        “Venus inclination tilt is also 177 degrees which is likely indication that planet has flipped over and may have experienced a rolling shift of mass which spun it in the opposite direction. ”

        Wow….. That explanation makes sense.

        It makes one wonder, what caused Venus to ‘flip’ like that in the first place.
        One theory postulated by an astronomer, was that Venus was hit by a MASSIVE impact, which led to monstrous volcanism, and the current ‘greenhouse effect’ that we see today.


      • Lucie Sinclair says:

        I am really looking forward to any more information you could un- earth ( no pun ) on this Alvin, what you have written here has my mind spinning! ( pun :XD )
        Thank you!


    • Sean says:

      Could Venus have been hit by the ‘Dark Fireworks on the Sun’. Most people forgot about it, but it was something they had never seen before. Looked like a volcanic blowout from the surface of the sun. The version I saw was backed away so you could get the full perspective of the gigantic amount of material that was spewed, and quite a large chunk of the mass broke off exiting out into space. Don’t believe they ever said where it headed. What I do remember is the sites linked to NASA’s sun satellites were temporarily unavailable. When they finally came back it was still about a week til they finally released something about it. They didn’t know where it would go. It could have struck Venus.


  2. mike says:

    Dear Alvin,
    Is there any truth about the moon having turned a significant amount from its axis. I have looked but found nothing official only the usual conspiracy dribble from arm chair experts. Are you able to shed some light on this please.


    • I have no knowledge of this. The same side of the moon always faces the Earth and it has visible, distinctive features, so I’m trying to understand where these rumors started. There are thousands of amateur astronomers in the world, lest we forget, who watch the heavens religiously. As a matter of fact, the vast majority of comets are discovered outside major government agencies.


  3. Thera says:

    What science can’t explain It, Prophecy predicts.


  4. Helen Parks says:

    If it is true that there is an approaching very large red dwarf coming and going in and out of our solar system – then it becomes understandable why scientists would be ‘mystified’ that Pluto’s orbit ‘sped up’ that Neptune is doing weird things on its plane, that Saturn is giving the universe light shows for free, that all the planets are warming up, and that Venus is ‘slowing down’
    and so on


  5. emma says:

    Well things are getting strange! We have had Sun tornadoes, Mars quakes and now Venus is slowing down! Add to this all that is going on here on Earth and you have to wonder what is going on out there??


  6. Amy says:

    Wanna know what mystifies me?? Why is it that over the years, humans have been able to take beautful pictures of our solar system and beyond, put a man on the moon, but only recently we all of a sudden start finding more moons and so forth not too far away from Earth??

    I’m betting soon we will here about a new Venus moon. Of course it has been there all along.. it has been hiding since way before the Myan’s or any other old civilization were taking notes on the night sky.

    I am finally opening my eyes to the world around me and what I see is scary. I for one am tired of being lied to and living in a world full of sheep and/or people who only worry about themselves, meaning hair, clothes, cars, houses….


    • Thera says:

      Amy… sentiment exactly especially in reference to your closing sentence.

      We had/have put our trust in lying educated people who continue to falsely deny what’s happening. They’reare now proving to be just plain evil. But then we were warned not to put our trust in man.

      That being said it would now seem to me that the people we elected and others whom we put our faith and trust in, to “run the world” want to keep important information at bay so that they have enough time to amass more money maybe to try and build a secure and safe place/position when the Universe/Earth goes through another cyclical change.

      Apparently, it’s going to go down; fire and brimstone as mentioned in the Bible.

      Jesus’ words bring to mind what King David was inspired to write centuries earlier: “The meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.”—Psalm 37:11

      Being meek does not mean being a weak individual. It actually means: patience in the reception of injuries. It’s neither meanness nor is it a surrender of our rights, nor is it cowardice. It is the opposite of sudden anger, of malice, of long-harbored vengeance.

      May the Lord bless those, (our souls) who put their whole and absolute faith in Him/Her/It.


  7. Paula Annie says:

    Alvin, thanks for the great explanation. It is only by the grace that we live here plummeting through the heavens… love, Paula


  8. Thera says:

    Alvin, Hi!

    Could some or all of this; Venus volcanoes, Mars earthquakes, Sun eruptions, have something to do with the strange echoing/sounds that have been reported around the globe?

    And then too with a change of frequency from these sound could it not have a profound effect on our DNA and how we think? Especially those who are not paying attention to what’s going on and are not gounded by faith in the Lord?


    • Img

      Since space is a vacuum, I think the authentic sounds being reported are of a terrestrial origin as sound does not propagate in space. We should remember we live on a very violent planet whose interior is under mind-numbing amounts of heat and pressure. If we could see the amount of magma sloshing under the ground beneath our feet- we probably wouldn’t think noise from nature is that strange. With increases in technology, comes increases in mechanically efficiency by reducing the amount of work engines have to do, but nature follows no such dictates and if we didn’t have oceans covering about 72% of the planet muffling sounds, we would be experiencing a lot more noises from the ground.


      • Presumably only humor is intended here…since it well known that the Sun’s equatorial rotation rate is decreasing…hence the conservation of angular momentum for ALL solar system bodies requires planetary rotation rates to decrease. Also the planets, through their blanket atmospheres, will retain more heat per given rotation period…Solar Sytem “global” warming. This is hardly a stretch for any space physicist….


  9. People only get themselves in a confused state when they attempt non-validated theoretical astrophysical models (Stephen Hawking style) with experimentally-derived science. Not only are this system’s planets slowing in rotation through gravitational tidal friction (atmospheres and hydrospheres-earth); also are included in rotational energy dissipation through the differential rotation rates of planetary interiors. Real problems are coming our way though, since the frequency and amplitude of solar storms are INCREASING, and the length of the Hale and Gleissberg cycles are DECREASING. As the Second Law of Thermodynamics states…”if you thinks are bad now…wait!…”


  10. katesisco says:

    Fluff, NASA named local gas cloud, is 10 my old, and may have created anti matter bits that have periodically since entered Sol’s heliosphere through the ORT shell and caused the gas to compress the heliosphere down to perhaps Sol. All bodies would be exposed to cosmic rays and expansion to due neutrino core heating.


  11. katesisco says:

    This body would be known to us as G1.9. It would have steadily been losing energy each incurrance and probably only recently lost the outside pressure holding the quantum gas inside.,which would explain the recent gas cloud seen since 1984 around G1.9. If so, then it is no longer George Gammow’s dense nuclear matter but a degraded quantum known as a neutrino and is shedding neutrinos heavily while inside Sol’s system. Science has identified a belt of anti neutrinos around the Earth. Since G1.9 is probably anti matter, it is being repulsed from Centauri to Sol, and once inside the ORT shell, is repulsed by Sol. This is the ‘orbit’ of G1.9.
    Historically, the Earth has experienced catastrophe due to this that left the earth esposed to cosmic rays and core expansion; as the body is losing energy, it may not this appearance compress the heliosphere past Earth. And if mythology is correct, we may expect G1.9 to be repulsed back through the ORT shell by 2013 but then the rebounding heliosphere will include massively heated gas planets which will affect all of Sol’s planetary bodies.


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