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The mysterious elements that make up the clouds of Venus have been discovered

The mysterious elements that make up the clouds of Venus have been discovered

A combination of two minerals, rumbuclase and acidic ferric sulfate, may explain the mysterious feature of ultraviolet absorption on our neighboring planet.

What are the clouds of Venus made of? Scientists know that it consists mainly of droplets of sulfuric acid, with some water, chlorine and iron.

Their concentrations vary with altitude in Venus' thick, hostile atmosphere.

But until now, scientists have been unable to pinpoint the missing ingredient that explains the cloud spots and lines, which can only be seen in the ultraviolet range.

In a new study, published In the magazine Advancement of scienceResearchers at the University of Cambridge have synthesized ferric sulphate minerals that are stable under the harsh chemical conditions of pink clouds.

Spectral analysis showed the presence of a mixture of two metals, Rumboclyse and acidic ferric sulphateIt may explain the mysterious feature of ultraviolet radiation absorption on our neighboring planet.

“The only available data on cloud formation has been collected by probes and Revealing the strange properties of clouds “Until now we have not been able to fully explain this,” he said. Paul Remer from the Cavendish Laboratory and co-author of the study.

“In particular, when examined in ultraviolet light, the pink clouds showed a specific absorption pattern. What elements, compounds or minerals are responsible for this observation?” he added.

Based on the chemistry of Venus' atmosphere, the team synthesized several ferric sulfate minerals in a hydrogeochemistry laboratory.

to Suspension of composite materials At various concentrations of sulfuric acid and by observing chemical and mineralogical changes, the team narrowed down the candidate minerals to rhomboclase and acidic ferric sulphate, whose spectral properties were examined under light sources specially designed to mimic the spectrum of solar flares.

The Harvard Photochemistry Laboratory collaborated on this research, providing measurements of iron's UV absorption patterns under highly acidic conditions in an attempt to… Imitation of clouds Vases, even more extreme.

“The patterns and level of absorption indicated by the combination of these two mineral phases are consistent with the dark ultraviolet spots observed in pink clouds,” said the co-author. Clancy Zijian JiangFrom the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge.

“These specific experiments revealed the complex chemical network of the atmosphere and shed light on the primary cycle on the surface of Venus,” Jiang added.

Venus is our closest neighbour“But it remains a mystery,” Paul Remer explained.

“We will have the opportunity to learn more about this planet in the coming years through future NASA and ESA missions, which will explore the atmosphere, clouds and surface. The study paves the way for these future explorations,” the researcher concluded.

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