The University of Sheffield
Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering

24 April 2012

Surprising magnetic discovery on Venus

sml-1_VEXcover.jpgVenus Express space researchers, including Professor Balikhin of ACSE who is a co-investigator in the Venus Express magnetometer mission, have made the startling discovery that magnetic reconnection - the phenomenon that produces magnetic storms and Northern and Southern Lights auroras on Earth - occurs on Venus, even though Venus does not have an intrinsic magnetic field.

The surprise discovery has been reported in 'Nature' and 'Science' and by the European Space Agency (ESA).

Nature: Magnetic storms spotted on Venus

Science: Magnetic Reconnection in the Near Venusian Magnetotail

Venus Express News: A magnetic surprise for Venus Express

Venus Express

The Venus Express spacecraft, the first European mission to Venus, was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazahkstan in November 2005. It settled into its final operational orbit during May 2006 in preparation for the scientific phase to study of the composition, structure and dynamics of Venus's atmosphere and make comprehensive measurements of the magnetic field in the vicinity of Venus. Venus Express, currently the only spacecraft in orbit around the planet, continues to produce many exciting new discoveries.

More about the Venus Express mission