Natural radio signal buzzes in Venus’ atmosphere - EarthSky
May 09, 2021 1 min, 34 secs
New measurements from Parker Solar Probe – the first new direct measurements of Venus’ atmosphere in nearly 30 years – showed an unexpected natural radio signal being emitted by Venus’ ionosphere.

On May 3, 2021, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe announced another discovery: a never-before-seen natural low-frequency radio signal in the atmosphere of Venus.

Parker Solar Probe was at its closest to Venus yet – only about 500 miles (800 km) above Venus’ surface on July 11, 2020 – when it found the surprising signal.

The measurements from Parker Solar Probe are the first new direct measurements of Venus’ atmosphere in nearly 30 years.

The similarity of the signal meant that Parker Solar Probe had unexpectedly skimmed through the upper atmosphere of Venus, or more specifically, its ionosphere.

Galileo had detected those radio waves at Jupiter’s moons, and now Parker Solar Probe had also found them in Venus’ atmosphere.

On July 11, 2020, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe made a close flyby of Venus.

This supports the theory that the ionosphere of Venus varies substantially over the 11-year solar cycle.

The fact that the planet’s ionosphere thins at solar minimum can provide valuable clues as to how the sun affects Venus’ atmosphere.

The discovery of the radio signal is a fortuitous development, since Parker Solar Probe’s main mission is to study the sun, not Venus.

The goal of flying by Venus is to slow down the spacecraft so that Parker Solar Probe can dive closer to the sun.

The radio signal was detected in Venus’ ionosphere in the upper atmosphere by Parker Solar Probe.

The probe detected a low-frequency natural radio signal coming from Venus’ upper atmosphere as it passed by the planet last year.

Bottom line: NASA’s Parker Solar Probe has detected an unexpected natural radio signal being emitted by Venus’ ionosphere.

Source: Depleted Plasma Densities in the Ionosphere of Venus Near Solar Minimum From Parker Solar Probe Observations of Upper Hybrid Resonance Emission

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