12 Jul 2010

At July 10th ... we have a story about the birth of Aphrodite but rather than rising up out of the foam of the sea she appears to have merged out of a fiery furnace - in this instance, Aprhodite of myth (a goddess figure) is equated with the planet Venus. Hence, the story is really about discoveries made by the 'Venus Express' of the atmosphere of that planet. In addition, it concerns the Russian Venura class landing vehicles that revealed a rock strewn and sandy terrain - with a surface temperature of 500 degrees. The earlier NASA Magellan spacecraft mission mapped most of the planet Venus and showed mountain tops glowing brilliantly in the radar light used to peer through the thick clouds of the atmosphere. Wal Thornhill likened it to St Elmo's Fire - a highly ionised state.

On the same site there is a post on the Aurora Borealis as seen from the International Space Station (see image) and it seems that occassionally it emits energetic bursts of light. NASA calls them 'substorms', a puzzling phenomena to mainstream science but now thought to represent bullets of plasma colliding with the larger auroral complex.