back to article Boffins report lightning on Venus, our non-identical twin

The European Space Agency's Venus Express probe has confirmed that there is lightning on our twin planet. This means that lightning has been confirmed on four of the solar system's eight official planets, but Venus' storms are unique. While lightning on Earth, Jupiter and Saturn is all associated with water clouds, the …


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  1. Don Mitchell


    Lightning on Venus has been pretty well known since it was detected by sensors on the Venera-11 lander in 1978 and flashes were seen by the Venera-9 orbiter in 1975.

    The Russians landed on Venus 10 times, flew balloons in its atmosphere, drilled into its surface and mapped it with synthetic aperture radar. But I doubt if we will see much mention of their work in the ESA press releases. It's particularly awkward to mention the 1975 Venera-9 and Venera-10 orbiters, since Fred Taylor has claimed that Pioneer Venus (1978) was the first satellite of Venus (see his article in The Century of Space Science, Kluwer 2001).

  2. eddiewrenn

    where's the gas?

    "....until it runs out of fuel."

    They ALWAYS forget something. I keep a spare can in my truck always.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "the climate on Venus is so different to Earth"

    Will Fred Taylor automatically lose his professorship at Oxford for that crap grammar, or was he misquoted by the BBC?

  4. Daniel

    Some lightning, yesterday...

    It's nice to see that the artist who used to do the front covers for all those 70s gatefold Prog Rock albums has now got a job doing aribrush-yellow-lightning bolts for the ESA.

  5. Spleen


    What? "It is now becoming clear why the climate on Venus is so different to Earth" is perfect grammar. Your quote would only be dubious if that was the whole sentence, with "so different" being used to mean "very different" instead of "as different as it is". Now I know why we've fallen 12 places in the literacy league tables when people are misquoting sentences, finding fault with their own misquotes and then being smug about it.

    How long until Greenpeace and Al Gore produce a documentary telling everyone that Venus used to have a thriving civilisation until they started letting poor people ride in airplanes and created the mega greenhouse effect? Roughly five seconds before teachers start showing it to seven-year-olds, I'm guessing.

  6. Vulpes Vulpes

    @ Spleen

    When I was a cub in the earth, we were told to use the form "different from".

    Perhaps your bold assertion that the form "different to" is "perfect grammar" is in fact, a bold pile of toss?

    You might just be responsible for us slipping into 16th position. I'd suggest emigration, for all our sakes.

    Only wondering.

  7. Eileen Bach


    If venus is the god of.......that'ill explain my sexlife.

  8. Mark Johnson

    @Spleen @A Coward

    You're both wrong.

    "It is now becoming clear why the climate on Venus is so different to Earth" should read "It is now becoming clear why the climate on Venus is so different to the climate on Earth".

    The first sentence isn't grammatically wrong, it just doesn't make a great deal of sense in the context. Maybe Anonymous Coward, if that is your real name, you should ask for a dictionary for Christmas and look up 'grammar' and compare it to the entry for 'sense of a quote in the context of a news article'.

    Spleen, I'm not sure WTF you're wittering on about, but you might want to revisit your spelling of aeroplanes.

    I think we can all agree that I've now settled the debate.

  9. Nano nano

    Difference from Earth

    One significant difference is that the Earth was clobbered by a "Mars-sized body" thereby forming the moon.

    This could have set up or modified the required rotation as well as affecting the composition of the crust.

  10. Spleen

    Yay grammar pedant fruitfight

    @Vulpes: There's nothing wrong with either "different from" or "different to".

    @Mark: Sorry, but it's one of those things where I forget which one is the American spelling and which one I'm meant to use for fear of being jeered at. As it doesn't cause any confusion in pronunciation (unlike '-or'/'-our' or 'paedo-'/'pedo-') and isn't damn ugly (unlike '-ize') I can't really bring myself to care about that one.

  11. Nick L


    Different FROM

    Similar TO


  12. Grey

    Been there, done that, defeated the aliens.

    Interesting how the artists rendition looks exactly like Battlezone (the 3d one). Someone needs to inform the ESA that there are easier ways to defeat the enemy aliens than by sending probes and littering up the other planets.

  13. b shubin


    a substantial portion of the US public will tell you (and anyone else within earshot) that the greenhouse effect is a fabrication popularized by biased scientists, and maybe even immigrant terrorist gay married liberals with ambitions of embryonic stem cell research (if you live in the UK, don't get too smug, you have these idiots too).

    the same crowd will blame Al Gore for misrepresenting the facts about the climate of Venus ("really, it's quite nice, i've heard!"), and assert that [a] it is a perfectly natural state, requiring not greenhouse effect, and/or [b] that God (in some flavor of The Big Three - Trinity, Yahweh, or Allah) intended it that way, so you and your pesky scientists should mind your own business.

    this is usually followed by a demand that the funding for this sort of thing be put to a more useful purpose, namely a tax cut.

  14. Chris G

    Acid rain.

    It is apparent that the Venusian Industrial Revolution took off much earlier than ours and due to the lack of an Al Gore evolving on the planet, they succumbed to runaway greenhouse effects, We are the lucky ones!

  15. Nick Barker
    Black Helicopters

    @ Mark Johnson

    Before Flaming folk... you should get at least one of your facts straight...

    aeroplane = British spelling

    airplane = American Spelling.

    Either way.. Spleen was right...

  16. Tim Brown

    Earth's future...

    ...right there. Eventually, our own magnetic-field-creating dynamo will slow down, reducing the strength of the field and allowing the solar winds to strip our water away.

    Eventually, Earth will be like Venus.

    Hope you've all updated your insurance...

  17. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Send over the crust sub !

    I think an urgent mission to put Venus' core back in rotation is required. All we need is a tunneling train made of Unobtainium and a crew willing to sacrifice its life to get Venus a magnetic field.

    And concerning liberals and biaised scientists, it's useless imposing on Venusians the same pathetic public institutions that a country on Earth has. Venusians certainly don't have liberals or conservatatives - heck, we don't even know if they have politicians !

  18. Mike Flugennock

    @ Daniel re: some lightning, yesterday

    Roger Dean is who you're thinking of...that cheesy concept art is nothing like his.

    I should know, I've still got almost all those old album jackets -- aka "bong-hit cleaners" -- and btw, the old Yes albums inside were all quite good.

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