By Frédéric J. Pont
Planetary atmospheres are advanced and evolving entities, as mankind is quickly coming to understand when trying to comprehend, forecast and mitigate human-induced weather swap. within the sunlight process, our neighbours Venus and Mars supply remarkable examples of 2 endpoints of planetary evolution, runaway greenhouse and lack of surroundings to space.
The number of extra-solar planets brings a much broader perspective to the difficulty: from hot "hot jupiters'' to ocean worlds, exo-atmospheres discover many configurations unknown within the sunlight approach, resembling iron clouds, silicate rains, severe plate tectonics, and steam volcanoes. Exoplanetary atmospheres have lately turn into available to observations.
This publication places our personal weather within the wider context of the rigors and tribulations of planetary atmospheres. in keeping with state of the art learn, it makes use of a grand journey of the atmospheres of different planets to polish a brand new gentle on our personal surroundings, and its relation with life.
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Additional resources for Alien Skies: Planetary Atmospheres from Earth to Exoplanets
The temperature at the surface rises to several hundred degrees, under the combined effect of increased pressure and the powerful greenhouse potential of CO2. The air is mostly carbon dioxide, with thick, yellowish clouds of sulphuric acid hovering in the haze. Sulphuric acid rain constantly falls, but evaporates before reaching the ground. The landscape of red-hot rocks shimmers like a mirage in the heat. We have reached our destination, the planet Venus. 32 Chapter 2 – Venus The real Venus A ground of hot volcanic rock; air a poisonous mixture of volcanic gases at high pressure, so thick that it feels as much like a liquid as a gas, gloomy red light filtering through thick clouds.
The air is almost entirely made of carbon dioxide. The clouds are made of droplets of sulphuric acid. If the temperature is pleasant at the top of the clouds, it rises steadily underneath, until it reaches about 500 degrees Celsius at the surface. If Earth is heaven (arguable but debatable), Venus is very close to hell. Fig. 3 Returning Chinese astronauts. Each nation brings some of its heritage to the aesthetics of space exploration. What will Chinese probes look like? Image credit: Xinhua 28 Chapter 2 – Venus Fig.
01 bar. The mean temperature in the Martian plains is around –60 degrees Celsius, quite like that at similar pressures on Earth. At the top of the giant volcanoes the temperature plummets to –120 degrees Celsius. Carbon dioxide clouds are common in the salmoncoloured sky, and there are occasional water clouds. Dust storms gather near the surface at the warmest spots, which move with the seasons. 46 Chapter 3 – Mars contains some blue coloration because all molecules in their gas form tend to diffract blue light more easily than red light.
Alien Skies: Planetary Atmospheres from Earth to Exoplanets by Frédéric J. Pont