August 2, 2009
Remarkable Bright Spot Found On Venus
An unusual bright spot that has shown up in the clouds on Venus is mystifying astronomers.
The spot was found by an amateur on July 19th, and was established as real by the European Space Agency's Venus Express spacecraft.
Information from the European probe implies that the spot emerged four days before it was seen on Earth. The spot has begun to grow, as winds spread the spot around Venus.
Scientists are not sure what created the bright spot on the planet. They guess that a volcanic eruption might be the cause.
Scientists think that the surface of Venus was built up from volcanism. Even though no concrete evidence for recent volcanic activity has been found, scientists think that it could happen.
An eruption would have to be tremendously strong to cut through the planet's heavy atmosphere.
Another potential reason for the spot is particles from the Sun combining with Venus's atmosphere.
Other bright spots have been noticed on Venus before. However, this spot is strange because it is restricted to a small area.
Image Courtesy ESA/MPS
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