Scientists find magnetic reconnection near Venus

BEIJING: The magnetic phenomenon that causes auroras on Earth has now been discovered around Venus, a planet without a magnetic field.

Scientists from China, the US and Austria have jointly found this phenomenon called "magnetic reconnection" in the near-Venus magnetotail.

Universal Space
The findings, issued in the latest Science Magazine released this week are likely to promote research into climate change on Venus and help find solutions to similar problems on Earth, Professor Zhang Tielong, the team leader with University of Science and Technology of China (USTC), said.

The magnetic reconnection may explain the auroras around Venus, and the atmosphere escape that led to the transformation of the planet rich in water 4 billion years ago to its current state, Zhang said.

Similar to Earth in bulk, density and quality, Venus was once considered the planet which was most likely to have life.

However, the temperature on the planet can reach 400 degrees Celsius and it has no water.

Supported by China's national natural science foundation, the project was jointly conducted by USTC, the University of California at Los Angeles, and the Space Research Institute of the Austrian Academy of Science.

The findings were based on observations with the Venus Express magnetometer and a low-energy particle detector, Zhang was quoted by state run Xinhua news agency here today.

Venus Express is a spacecraft launched by the European Space Agency.

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