What the Heck Is This Giant Bow-Shaped Structure in Venus’s Skies?

Image: ©Planet-C/nakamura.masato@me.com
Image: ©Planet-C/nakamura.masato@me.com
It’s no secret that Venus, Earth’s nearest planetary neighbor, has a penchant for mysterious behavior. But the emergence of a colossal bow-shaped structure in the planet’s upper atmosphere, captured by the Japanese Akatsuki orbiter, is pretty weird even for Venus.

By Becky Ferreira | MOTHERBOARD

Stretching across 10,000 kilometers (6,214 miles), the phenomenon was spotted by the Akatsuki no sooner than it inserted itself into orbit at the planet, on December 7, 2015. The spacecraft monitored the structure until December 12, but then had to shift focus to calibrating its orbit, attitude, and telecommunication equipment. By the time it reopened its eyes to the planet on January 15, 2016, the bow shape was gone. Classic Venus.