Suspected dust ring in Venus's orbit confirmed

Nov 22, 2013 by Bob Yirka report
Venus. Photo courtesy of NASA

(Phys.org) —A trio of researchers from The Open University and the University of Central Lancashire in the U.K., has confirmed that a ring of dust surrounds the sun in the orbit of Venus. In their paper published in the journal Science, the team describes how they used data from NASA's twin STEREO probes to confirm the existence of the dust ring.

Scientists have known for many years that a cloud of dust exists throughout the solar system, ranging from the asteroid belt to the sun—it's called the and is made of . Over the past few decades, space scientists have come to realize that some of that dust can be pulled into the of a planet by that planet's gravity. The Earth travels through just such a ring—it was discovered approximately 20 years ago. Twenty years before that, probes sent into space by the Soviet Union sent back evidence suggesting that such a ring existed in Venus's path. Unfortunately, evidence from those probes wasn't strong enough to actually prove that the ring existed.

In this new effort, the researchers first created a model of what they believed a in Venus's orbit should look like, then compared it with data from a pair of NASA probes that allow for stereoscopic viewing of portions of space. That helped them find what they were looking for—evidence of Venus's dust ring. But it didn't conform exactly to the model they'd created (because it was partially based on data that describes the dust ring in Earth's orbit). Instead, they found that Venus's dust ring had two steps—one existed just outside of Venus's orbit, the other just inside of it.

Finding dust rings in the orbits of other planets is not easy—the difference in the density of such a dust cloud and the zodiacal cloud is roughly just 10 percent. Plus it's so large it's difficult to see from our vantage point. The in Venus's orbit, for example, has a diameter of 220 million kilometers. Another problem is that the individual dust particles don't persist in a ring for very long—as a part of the zodiacal cloud, they are constantly moving slowly towards the sun. That means that the dust particles that exist in a ring are constantly being replenished.

Scientists believe gaining a better understanding of the dust clouds that exist in planetary orbits can help in studying exoplanets, offering information that may not be available in other ways.

Explore further: Gravitational waves according to Planck

More information: Imaging of a Circumsolar Dust Ring Near the Orbit of Venus, Science 22 November 2013: Vol. 342 no. 6161 pp. 960-963 DOI: 10.1126/science.1243194

ABSTRACT
The gravitational interaction of dust in the zodiacal cloud with individual planets is expected to give rise to ringlike features: Such a circumsolar ring has been observed associated with Earth, but such resonance rings have not been confirmed to exist for other planets. Here, we report on sensitive photometric observations, based on imaging from the STEREO mission, that confirm the existence of a dust ring at the orbit of Venus. The maximum overdensity of dust in this ring, compared to the zodiacal cloud, is ~10%. The radial density profile of this ring differs from the model used to describe Earth's ring in that it has two distinct steplike components, with one step being interior and the other exterior to the orbit of Venus.

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cantdrive85
1.2 / 5 (22) Nov 22, 2013
But it didn't conform exactly to the model they'd created

Funny how the models don't quite replicate reality yet the devotion to such models remains unfettered.
Q-Star
4.2 / 5 (10) Nov 22, 2013
Models don't replicate reality. They model reality. Why would ya want to replicate reality, that's the sort of thing ya don't really need two of.
ViperSRT3g
3.7 / 5 (6) Nov 22, 2013
If their model replicated reality every time, then we'd know everything there is to know by now. Fortunately that rarely happens, and so we are left with things to learn about.
Lurker2358
1.7 / 5 (16) Nov 22, 2013
If their model replicated reality every time, then we'd know everything there is to know by now. Fortunately that rarely happens, and so we are left with things to learn about.


What if everything is too complicated to make sense out of it all, and the sense you think you know is actually nonsense?
goracle
1.6 / 5 (13) Nov 22, 2013
Models don't replicate reality. They model reality. Why would ya want to replicate reality, that's the sort of thing ya don't really need two of.

You'd want to do that to support an untenable argument of a political, not scientific nature, which is typical of cantdrive.
GSwift7
2.3 / 5 (6) Nov 22, 2013
What if everything is too complicated to make sense out of it all, and the sense you think you know is actually nonsense?


Then that's okay, because in that case you probably don't exist anyway. The odds of you existing are astronomically low to start with, so I doubt you ever existed, and even if you did exist at one time in the past or future, you're surely not here right now, (whatever 'right now' means).
merv3
1.6 / 5 (11) Nov 22, 2013
What if everything is too complicated to make sense out of it all, and the sense you think you know is actually nonsense?

You already know the answer to that question.
Protoplasmix
1.5 / 5 (14) Nov 22, 2013
What if everything is too complicated to make sense out of it all, and the sense you think you know is actually nonsense?

Of anything and everything that has occurred, none of it has been too complicated for nature to resolve. Also, there's a difference between calculating the outcome of a complex system, and making sense of the complexity by identifying the possible outcomes and their associated probabilities. Maths, logic and the scientific method are the best tools for separating the sense from the nonsense. It's only semantics if you assert that the only thing you know is that you know nothing. I like the way Einstein put it: the most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible. Hopefully that makes sense :)
Mimath224
1.9 / 5 (14) Nov 22, 2013
How did we get from dust rings to;

If their model replicated reality every time, then we'd know everything there is to know by now. Fortunately that rarely happens, and so we are left with things to learn about.


What if everything is too complicated to make sense out of it all, and the sense you think you know is actually nonsense?

???
Since the model used was that used for the Earth surely it's reasonable that it would't fit exactly for Venus...
Zephir_fan
Nov 22, 2013
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Sinister1811
2 / 5 (4) Nov 23, 2013
It's getting a bit dusty around Venus, because NASA haven't swept there for a while with any probe. They're always too busy with Mars.

What happened to ESA's Venus Express anyway?
Mimath224
1.3 / 5 (12) Nov 23, 2013

It's getting a bit dusty around Venus, because NASA haven't swept there for a while with any probe. They're always too busy with Mars.

What happened to ESA's Venus Express anyway?


Strangely enough I've seen images of Earth from Venus Express, 2008, and another released in January of this year (I think a 2012 picture from compiled archive). The picture shows the south pole at 66,000km.
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (13) Nov 23, 2013
Models don't replicate reality. They model reality. Why would ya want to replicate reality, that's the sort of thing ya don't really need two of.

Here I was under the impression the predictive ability of a theory's models to replicate reality was a goal. What does it say about the purely gravitational model used when it doesn't describe the very distinct "step-like" morphology of the dust? Clearly "something" is being overlooked when the model does not predict reality. Blaming the discrepancies on an "Earth model" used for Venus is also a weak argument, if they truly understood the physics involved, changing the values to represent Venus should be easy enough.
Mike_Massen
2.1 / 5 (15) Nov 23, 2013
cantdrive85 could do with a lesson in basic philosophy with this gem
"Funny how the models don't quite replicate reality yet the devotion to such models remains unfettered. "
Funny strange or Funny haha - elaborate ?
Sorry English isnt your first language, a Model is an (initial) attempt at correlation through physics, maths equations, early observation etc. A Model is just that, like any - it is *not* reality but the best asymptotic approach at the time and as such is open to improvement - are you cantdrive85 - open to improvement, ideal, desire, truth ?

There is no particular devotion except in your manufactured 'straw man' idea cantdrive85, so u can argue it later.

Dust is bound to be around and hey, guess what, some is bound in gravitational fields and much is not - there is no determinism cantdrive85, no matter how much u complain because your particular desire for determinism cantdrive85 isnt met with and frankly never will be !

The universe has chaotic undertones...
merv3
1.2 / 5 (12) Nov 23, 2013
What happened to ESA's Venus Express anyway?


Strangely enough I've seen images of Earth from Venus Express, 2008, and another released in January of this year (I think a 2012 picture from compiled archive). The picture shows the south pole at 66,000km.

Venus Express has been orbiting Venus since 11 April 2006. Earth is less than one pixel in size to its sensors at Venus. Venus Express is currently funded until the end of 2014.
https://en.wikipe..._express
Sinister1811
1 / 5 (2) Nov 23, 2013

It's getting a bit dusty around Venus, because NASA haven't swept there for a while with any probe. They're always too busy with Mars.

What happened to ESA's Venus Express anyway?


Strangely enough I've seen images of Earth from Venus Express, 2008, and another released in January of this year (I think a 2012 picture from compiled archive). The picture shows the south pole at 66,000km.


Too true. If you check out the ESA's website, there has only been 6 images taken since arriving in April 2006. And there's an update every once in a blue moon. Makes me wonder what they've been doing all this time.
EnricM
1.4 / 5 (10) Nov 25, 2013

Funny how the models don't quite replicate reality yet the devotion to such models remains unfettered.

Funny how some people do not yet understand the meaning and aim of models.
GSwift7
not rated yet Nov 26, 2013
Funny how the models don't quite replicate reality yet the devotion to such models remains unfettered


The model of Earth's dust ring was used to predict whether or not a dust ring was likely or not in the orbit of Venus, and what that dust ring might look like in terms of density and such. They knew it wouldn't be an exact fit, but it would be close enough to tell them whether there might be a ring for them to look for, and what they might be looking for. They didn't bother re-writing the model to fit Venus because that wasn't needed for their purposes. This is similar to using mice to test a drug. You know the results will not be exactly the same in humans, but you know it is useful within the limits of the comparison. As long as you understand the limitations of your model, whether that model is mice or numbers, it doesn't need to be perfect. Understanding the limitations is what separates an expert from an amature.