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Experts Puzzled By Bright Spot On Venus

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the who-is-throwing-things-at-our-planets dept.

Space 107

Hugh Pickens writes "BBC reports that astronomers are puzzled by a strange bright spot which has appeared in the clouds of Venus, first identified by US amateur astronomer Frank Melillo on 19 July and later confirmed by the European Space Agency's Venus Express spacecraft. 'I have seen bright spots before but this one is an exceptionally bright and quite intense area,' says Melillo. The bright spot has started to expand since its first appearance, being spread by winds in Venus' thick atmosphere. Scientists are unsure as to what is causing the spot. 'An eruption would have to be quite energetic to get a cloud this high,' said Dr. Sanjay Limaye of the University of Wisconsin. Furthermore, at a latitude of 50 degrees south, the spot lies outside the region of known volcanoes on Venus. Another potential source for the bright spot are charged particles from the Sun interacting with Venus' atmosphere. It's also possible that atmospheric turbulence may have caused bright material to become concentrated in one area. 'Right now, I think it's anybody's guess,' adds Limaye."

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107 comments

welders. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28909179)

you aren't supposed to look at the light when they are welding.

Hrmery.... (0, Flamebait)

TechnoChatter69420 (1605189) | more than 4 years ago | (#28909183)

This is almost as confounding as the dark spot on Uranus.

Re:Hrmery.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28909235)

-1 boring

Re:Hrmery.... (0, Redundant)

Eudial (590661) | more than 4 years ago | (#28909261)

-1 redundant

Re:Hrmery.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28912303)

It's "brown rings around Uranus." Doofis.

not a one time event (5, Informative)

heptapod (243146) | more than 4 years ago | (#28909207)

It's not the first bright spot observed on Venus. There was one back in January 2007 where there both hemispheres brightened at the same time.

Re:not a one time event (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28909249)

Someone's testing nukes on Venus.

Probably the goatse [goatse.fr] monster.

National Enquirer (0)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 4 years ago | (#28910673)

would have said "Scientists baffled". Especially by mundane events.

Re:not a one time event (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28914059)

Da meat-e-o-r-sss is cummin. Run.....aw can't do dat or we'd be a runnin in circles cuz dat is wut ya do when ya runs on the surface of a sphere like Earth.

Re:not a one time event (1)

DamienNightbane (768702) | more than 4 years ago | (#28915247)

Sounds to me like the aliens on Venus weren't satisfied with just a nice game of tic-tac-toe.

Isn't it obvious? (5, Funny)

millennial (830897) | more than 4 years ago | (#28909233)

They're coming...

Re:Isn't it obvious? (1)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 4 years ago | (#28912663)

All these worlds are yours, except Venus. Attempt no landings there. Use them together, use them in peace.

Re:Isn't it obvious? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28913363)

All over Venus? Man, that must be one hell of an ejaculation.

Re:Isn't it obvious? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28914205)

Why the hell was this modded "insightful?" Mods are on crack again...

Re:Isn't it obvious? (1)

haifastudent (1267488) | more than 4 years ago | (#28915233)

Why the hell was this modded "insightful?" Mods are on crack again...

Because the mods read War of the Worlds? Probably between crack puffs.

Re:Isn't it obvious? (1)

GarryFre (886347) | more than 4 years ago | (#28917619)

It's a McDonald's

Cosmic omens... (5, Funny)

TimHunter (174406) | more than 4 years ago | (#28909253)

  1. Mysterious bright spot on Venus
  2. Scar on Jupiter http://science.slashdot.org/story/09/07/25/1457245/Hubble-Photographs-Jupiters-New-Scar?art_pos=2/ [slashdot.org]
  3. Unexplained high tides http://www.newsobserver.com/news/health_science/story/1620869.html/ [newsobserver.com]

I don't know about you guys but I'm expecting the space aliens to show up any minute.

Aliens man? I'm betting on the antichrist. (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#28909329)

      1. Mysterious bright spot on Venus
      2. Scar on Jupiter http://science.slashdot.org/story/09/07/25/1457245/Hubble-Photographs-Jupiters-New-Scar?art_pos=2/ [slashdot.org] [slashdot.org]
      3. Unexplained high tides http://www.newsobserver.com/news/health_science/story/1620869.html/ [newsobserver.com] [newsobserver.com]

I don't know about you guys but I'm expecting the space aliens to show up any minute.

Dude, I'm going straight to the Book of Revelations, the end of the world. Space aliens? That's scary, but if you want genuine terror, there's nothing to top God coming back to smite all the evil and villainy, especially if you happen to be an evil villain.

Re:Aliens man? I'm betting on the antichrist. (1)

Mystra_x64 (1108487) | more than 4 years ago | (#28909769)

Hopefully our world isn't the world of Angel Sanctuary.

Re:Aliens man? I'm betting on the antichrist. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28911037)

Space aliens may actually be real. God not so much.

Re:Aliens man? I'm betting on the antichrist. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28911553)

Space aliens may actually be real. God not so much.

Wow, you are sooooo edgy! Do you wear a black leather jacket (or black trenchcoat maybe?) and listen to industrial music while maintaining your awesome cynical attitude?

Seriously, grow up. You make the rest of us atheists look bad when you act like such an arrogant little prick.

Re:Aliens man? I'm betting on the antichrist. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28912715)

your comment makes us look even worse asshat....

Re:Aliens man? I'm betting on the antichrist. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28911809)

You're saying that an antiChrist isn't an alien? For that matter, wouldn't the child of an omniscient superbeing who happened by also be considered an alien, or part alien? And what about those "angel" critters? They don't appear terrestrial. Aren't these aliens too? Then there's Uncle Dave....

Re:Aliens man? I'm betting on the antichrist. (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 4 years ago | (#28913639)

That's scary, but if you want genuine terror, there's nothing to top God coming back

Nah, I'll just tell Him He just proved He exists and He'll vanish in a puff of logic.

Wait, what do you mean, "coming back"?

Re:Aliens man? I'm betting on the antichrist. (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 4 years ago | (#28920883)

Good god, here goes all my Karma in the name of humor:

That's scary, but if you want genuine terror, there's nothing to top God coming back to smite all the evil and villainy, especially if you happen to be an evil villain.

I believe you overlooked SCIENCE. Nothing to stop him coming back eh, you crazy believers... nothing... heh... oh my...

Re:Cosmic omens... (5, Funny)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 4 years ago | (#28909349)

The most disturbing thing of all is that if the aliens did show up, the first thing many Slashdotters would do is come back to your comment and change the moderation so it appears as "Insightful".

Re:Cosmic omens... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28913649)

And mark your comment so it appears as "Funny". Hmmm, strange indeed.

(Now what are you mark my comment? Haha! I know, feels like your head is gonna explore, doesn't it?)

Re:Cosmic omens... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28909365)

Some say the end is near...
some say we'll see armageddon soon...
certainly, oh we will...

Re:Cosmic omens... (3, Funny)

cardsinhand (1601329) | more than 4 years ago | (#28909403)

Super Saiyans are just battling again. No big deal.

Re:Cosmic omens... (1)

PatrickThomson (712694) | more than 4 years ago | (#28909869)

Nah, it's just part of the viral marketing for District 9. Tristar have been buying up ex-solviet nuclear-tipped ICBMs and retrofitting them for a space mission. The rest of the spots will spell out "buy coke" (they gotta have a product placement as well, right?)

Asteroids, metoers? (2, Interesting)

theolein (316044) | more than 4 years ago | (#28910359)

The dark spot on Jupiter is almost certainly a comet, asteroid or meteor. While I doubt that the higher tides on the US coast have anything to do with it, I wouldn't be at all surprised if the bright spot on Venus wasn't also due to an asteroidal collision. Venus has a very thick atmosphere and a large collision would probably leave a mark in the atmosphere due to kicked up dust etc that would be observable for a while until it dissipated in the atmosphere.

More importantly, the odds of two planets in the system getting hit by objects large enough to make large marks is pretty small, and that makes me worry if there isn't some local debris cloud from the Oort cloud or Kuiper belt that is passing through the system currently. Does anyone know?

Re:Asteroids, metoers? (2, Interesting)

Sperbels (1008585) | more than 4 years ago | (#28911441)

and that makes me worry if there isn't some local debris cloud from the Oort cloud or Kuiper belt that is passing through the system currently. Does anyone know?

No, but such an event would be huge news and I'm sure we'd know about it by now. The people who insist that extinction events occur regularly due to some astronomical cycle would be screaming their heads off insisting that Sol's companion star has returned to pelt the earth with comets.

Re:Cosmic omens... (2, Funny)

physburn (1095481) | more than 4 years ago | (#28910759)

Its not an omen, it just that Venus has developed Jupiter envy.

---

Astronomy Feed [feeddistiller.com] @ Feed Distiiler [feeddistiller.com]

Re:Cosmic omens... (1)

imikem (767509) | more than 4 years ago | (#28913687)

Venus is already pretty well developed. She is the Goddess of Love after all, fer Pete's sake.

Re:Cosmic omens... (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 4 years ago | (#28920897)

Sing it with me:

Jupiter and Venus,
In a Tree!
K I S S
I N G!

Yes, now they BOTH have cold sores.

Re:Cosmic omens... (1)

hawk (1151) | more than 4 years ago | (#28913069)

Jupiter was merely hit by an asteroid.

Venus, however, is practicing shooting down satellites & space ships. Given their atmosphere, however, the ground-based laser lights up the clouds, and is visible from adjacent planets . . .

hawk

Re:Cosmic omens... (1)

gplus (985592) | more than 4 years ago | (#28915053)

Well it is a rather strange coincidence, that the bright spot on Venus and the scar on Jupiter both appeared on 19 July.

Global warming? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28909273)

Looks like this is more evidence of global warming.

Random Venusian Fact (5, Informative)

bughunter (10093) | more than 4 years ago | (#28909275)

Random Fact: The proper adjective form to refer to the 2nd solar planet is not Venusian but Venereal. However, the latter term doesn't get quite the desired reception from the general public.

(I learned this from a Tony Randall appearance on the tonight show in the early 1980s. I just wish my brain could retain practical facts the way it retains trivia like this.)

Re:Random Venusian Fact (3, Interesting)

mrsurb (1484303) | more than 4 years ago | (#28909389)

I'd much prefer to be called mercurial, martial or jovial than venereal! Or even a lunatic...

Re:Random Venusian Fact (4, Informative)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#28909773)

Not according to these:

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/venereal [reference.com]

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/venereal [merriam-webster.com]

http://www.askoxford.com/concise_oed/venereal [askoxford.com]

If it is, it must be a very obscure reference. I doubt you'd be able to use it and convey the meaning you claimed.

Re:Random Venusian Fact (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28910495)

Did you not read the etymology section of those definitions? You see the relationship between the two words and didn't look into it a bit more? Cause if you did you'd see he is right and venereal is the possessive form of venus and has been used as a term for STD's since the 1600's.

Re:Random Venusian Fact (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#28914835)

> Did you not read the etymology section of those definitions? You see the relationship between the two words and didn't look into it a bit more?

I did, but did you even understand what you read and wrote?

As you said it was a term used for STDs since the 1600s. It was most certainly not a term used for the meaning the OP claimed. To quote the OP: "The proper adjective form to refer to the 2nd solar planet is not Venusian".

So even in the 1600s when you're actually referring to things of the _actual_ planet, you don't say venereal, since if you said venereal you'd be talking about STDs.

My guess is in the 1600s "venereal" was a slightly more euphemistic term. Sounds better to say your disease was "of the Planet of Love", than to say that you caught it from a prostitute.

In 2009 venereal is not such an euphemistic term, but it still is not used to refer to things of the actual planet Venus, which if you notice is the planet the Slashdot story is referring to.

Try to keep up OK? I know reading is very hard for some people, but practice helps.

Correction (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#28914847)

For those who tend to miss the forest for the trees, please read "Planet of Love" as "Goddess of Love" in my above post.

Re:Random Venusian Fact (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 4 years ago | (#28911097)

Women are from Venus. Men are from Mars.

Perhaps that's why an STD was coined "venereal disease". Sexist, I know. But just a thought.

Re:Random Venusian Fact (2, Insightful)

PingXao (153057) | more than 4 years ago | (#28911373)

Sexist? Amazing how a couple of generations of brainwashing can undo centuries of progress and accomplishment.

Re:Random Venusian Fact (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 4 years ago | (#28913837)

Hey, it takes two to make it happen. Do you really think it's the woman's fault for spreading the clap?

That's what I mean when I said "sexist". What the hell kind of brainwashing are you talking about?

Re:Random Venusian Fact (1)

lachlan76 (770870) | more than 4 years ago | (#28914797)

If that is truly the origin of "venereal" and "venereal disease", then I suspect that it would be because Venus was the godess of love, rather than anything related to the sexes.

Re:Random Venusian Fact (1)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 4 years ago | (#28909805)

Not since the 1890's has "venereal" been preferred over "Venusian". As it were.

Re:Random Venusian Fact (2, Informative)

N7DR (536428) | more than 4 years ago | (#28910157)

Random Fact: The proper adjective form to refer to the 2nd solar planet is not Venusian but Venereal.

Nope. It's "cytherean". Of course, you could believe Tony Randall over someone who has worked on PVO (Pioneer Venus Orbiter) data. I admit that it's probably more fun that way.

Re:Random Venusian Fact (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28913715)

You downloaded them datas from teh internets? OMG, you're a real h@x0r m@st0r!!11!! Did you find the Venerial bush there?

Re:Random Venusian Fact (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 4 years ago | (#28914433)

Nope. It's "cytherean".

Not really. Venereal IS the proper pluralization of Venus.

Cytherean is something cooked-up, pretty much at random, because so many people simply refused to use the proper terminology. And point of fact, isn't even the observed terminology these days, as it was some years ago.

In other news, I don't like the word "dog". They're now to be called untigs. Anyone that doesn't observe this new proper wording is stupid and wrong...

Re:Random Venusian Fact (1)

damburger (981828) | more than 4 years ago | (#28910851)

Some people therefore favour the term 'cytherean'

Re:Random Venusian Fact (2, Interesting)

hawk (1151) | more than 4 years ago | (#28913083)

Both of those terms are odd choices for a reference to Perelandra . . .

hawk

Re:Random Venusian Fact (1)

Megane (129182) | more than 4 years ago | (#28913303)

As someone else said, the proper term is Cytherean. [wikipedia.org] However, if you follow that link, you will find out that the actual word you were looking for is not Veneral, but Venerean.

Re:Random Venusian Fact (1)

bughunter (10093) | more than 4 years ago | (#28914081)

I stand corrected. On two points. In fact, I find Cytherian most aesthetic of all. But unfortunately, it now has a rather sordid connotation as well [wikipedia.org] .

Better tell Merriam-Webster (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28919443)

At least let m-w.com know. They don't say any such thing about venereal.

"quite intense area," (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28909277)

"quite intense area,"

He's discovered the 'G' spot.

What's next? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28909297)

A dark spot on Uranus? (so to speak)

Alien DARPA (2, Funny)

tsa (15680) | more than 4 years ago | (#28909301)

Looks like a test of the Venetian DARPA to me. We can expect our Venetian Overlords to arrive soon!

Re:Alien DARPA (2, Funny)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 4 years ago | (#28910391)

I for one welcome our blind overlords.

Re:Alien DARPA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28910609)

I blame the Mekon and his green hordes...

Re:Alien DARPA (1)

millennial (830897) | more than 4 years ago | (#28910737)

That'd be HAARP, not DARPA.

Re:Alien DARPA (1)

haifastudent (1267488) | more than 4 years ago | (#28915249)

That'd be HAARP, not DARPA.

Worse, it might be their LHC.

Just like Jupiter (3, Interesting)

mknewman (557587) | more than 4 years ago | (#28909303)

Looks like another possible comet hit to me. Introduce new volatles into the atmosphere and you'll get something similar.

Re:Just like Jupiter (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28909703)

It looks like it, but if you want to become a successful guesser you need to take into account the prior probability, which in this case is tiny. So, no.

To make a parallel, a dead rat on the street in NYC may look like it was crushed by an elephant, but that wouldn't be my guess.

Re:Just like Jupiter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28909973)

It looks like it, but if you want to become a successful guesser you need to take into account the prior probability, which in this case is tiny. So, no.

To make a parallel, a dead rat on the street in NYC may look like it was crushed by an elephant, but that wouldn't be my guess.

Because elephants are scared of rodents, amirite ?

Re:Just like Jupiter (1)

way2slo (151122) | more than 4 years ago | (#28914057)

I would expect a comet/meteor strike to look dark and more like a spot, while this is very light and looks like a stripe. (VMC)

There is spacecraft in orbit around Venus. (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28909335)

ESA Venus Express is in orbit around Venus. Perhaps they can shed more light on this.

Re:There is spacecraft in orbit around Venus. (4, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 4 years ago | (#28912095)

Shed more light on an already bright spot? Wouldn't that burn out the cams?

They come in peace! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28909361)

All hail our new venusian overlords!

More troubling: (-1, Redundant)

T-Bucket (823202) | more than 4 years ago | (#28909367)

This isn't nearly as dangerous at the bright spot found on Uranus....

"More men were back at work. Sales were picking up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28909457)

We now return you to the music of Ramón Raquello, playing for you in the Meridian Room of the Park Plaza Hotel, situated in downtown New York.

Brown Spot on Uranus (-1, Redundant)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 4 years ago | (#28909471)

I'm more worried about the brown spot on Uranus. Ok, bad joke but if I didn't make it, someone else would.

Re:Brown Spot on Uranus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28909687)

Someone else already did.

Re:Brown Spot on Uranus (0)

denzacar (181829) | more than 4 years ago | (#28910119)

It could be a symptom of a Venereal disease. You should have that looked at.

Thank you. Thank you. Try the veal.

Baffled scientists. (1)

DetpackJump (1219130) | more than 4 years ago | (#28910085)

The staple of mainstream media science reporting

Re:Baffled scientists. (1)

millennial (830897) | more than 4 years ago | (#28911047)

It is a little annoying, isn't it? Reporters love to depict anything for which we currently don't have an explanation as "baffling," as if there's absolutely no ideas whatsoever.

Re:Baffled scientists. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28911845)

Reporters are baffled by most everything. Journalism majors. Remember them from college? Sharpest knives in the drawer? Most of the ones I know are too distracted by celebrities or pieces of lint to focus on understanding what's going on about ..... anything. Naturally they assume that scientists share their bafflement.

Alien Craft Dumped Its Bilge (1)

curmudgeon99 (1040054) | more than 4 years ago | (#28910473)

We know what this is--and nobody wants to admit it because they like the space tourism. The streaks on Venus are from some ill-mannered time or space travelers who dumped their bilge into the upper atmosphere of Venus. It's just a mess and it's going to leave a pretty permanent stain on Venus. It's going to wreak hell on the Venusian Tourism Industry, for sure. This is the dark side of our government running its alien/time traveler tourism program. No body ever plans for what to do with the trash.

H.G. Wells already warned us about this. (1)

EWAdams (953502) | more than 4 years ago | (#28910569)

It's the forge casting the giant gun they're going to use to shoot the spaceship at us.

Good thing we've got these handy microbes around. Martians weren't clued enough to wear space suits. Let's hope the Venusians are equally dumb.

Oh My God... (1)

lbalbalba (526209) | more than 4 years ago | (#28910623)

... Its Full Of *Stars* ...

Re:Oh My God... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28913269)

has there ever been a report of Anti-Monoliths? huge White Spheres?

V-spot (1)

entrancer (748365) | more than 4 years ago | (#28910951)

Orgasmic Chemistry text, p. 000...charged particles in excited state....

It's igniting (2, Funny)

koan (80826) | more than 4 years ago | (#28911025)

We get a second sun.

Re:It's igniting (2, Funny)

bar-agent (698856) | more than 4 years ago | (#28911263)

We get a second sun.

Yay!

Oh, wait. That's bad, isn't it?

Re:It's igniting (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 4 years ago | (#28912119)

Not if you're a part of the solar panel manufacturers' conspiracy that's behind this.

Re:It's igniting (1)

haifastudent (1267488) | more than 4 years ago | (#28915257)

That's bad, isn't it?

Describe "bad".

Cool!! I Get First Dibs!!! (1)

CyberSlammer (1459173) | more than 4 years ago | (#28912067)

I hereby rename the earth "Tatooine"!!!

Im confused. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28911657)

Are the spots actually giving off light ,aka brighter or just more reflective then surrounding clouds/atmosphere?

OMG its full of Stars !!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28911977)

You sure that its not a group of Large black Monoliths that is growing ???

Noctilucent Clouds Spread and Mystify (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#28912321)

Men are from Mars... (1)

CFBMoo1 (157453) | more than 4 years ago | (#28912423)

...and I for one welcome our Female Venusian Overlords.

Messiah (1)

TheNormal (1499911) | more than 4 years ago | (#28912495)

What's Obama doing on Venus?

But does it match.... (0, Redundant)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 4 years ago | (#28912933)

the dark spot on Uranus?

Just asking....

What ever it is... (0, Troll)

hargrand (1301911) | more than 4 years ago | (#28913341)

I'm sure that somebody will suggest that U.S. capitalists are somehow to blame for it and will vigorously argue to extract billions from the U.S. economy to fix it.

Verne lives on Venus (1)

68882 (444129) | more than 4 years ago | (#28914157)

Obviously It's the flash from the cannon that sent their projectile to Jupiter, good thing it wasn't earth since they say the projectile made quite a splash on Jupiter.

Check your Jules Verne notes for the historical reference.

Global warming caused it. (1)

Andoman78 (1527629) | more than 4 years ago | (#28916469)

Global warming caused it.

Well... (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 4 years ago | (#28918993)

> Scientists are unsure as to what is causing the spot:
>
> - An eruption
> - charged particles from the Sun
> - atmospheric turbulence
>
> 'Right now, I think it's anybody's guess,' adds Limaye.

Ignited farts from giant dinosaurs?

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