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The uncertainty of science: A new analysis of past data from Venus suggests that the planet’s atmospheric sulfur cannot be causing the atmosphere’s dark stripes seen in the ultraviolet.
If we look at Venus in a normal optical telescope, we see only a dull yellowish-white sphere without any other distinguishing features. However, if we capture an image in the ultraviolet range, the picture changes drastically – dark and light areas appear on the disc, reflecting the dynamics of the atmosphere. “These areas mean that somewhere in the upper cloud layer there is a substance that is absorbing UV radiation. Over the past 30 years there have been a wide range of hypotheses as to what this substance could be. Many scientists believed that sulfur particles were responsible for the absorption. But now we will have to abandon this hypothesis,” says Krasnopolsky.
It appears that the new analysis puts the sulfur too low in the atmosphere.