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Discovery of Phosphine in the Atmosphere of Venus

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 5:37 pm
by JohnM
So we now know about the great announcement. Astronomers have discovered Phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus. However there are a lot of uncertainties as the biological process that generates Phosphine in not understood on Earth. In the case of Venus the 'life' would have to survive the extreme acid environment even in the clouds. This is much more acidic than the environment that extreemophiles survive in on earth.

My other doubt is that they have only detected one absorption line though with two different telescopes. In my opinion this could be an unknown absorption line from a rare molecule. It will be interesting to see if they manage to get confirmation from other lines however this might be difficult as they are in the Infra Red.

Re: Discovery of Phosphine in the Atmosphere of Venus

Posted: Thu Apr 01, 2021 6:32 am
by Eva Braun
Now it is proven that it was sulfur dioxide, not phosphine..

Re: Discovery of Phosphine in the Atmosphere of Venus

Posted: Thu Apr 01, 2021 6:54 am
by JohnM
Eva,

I think that 'proven' is to strong a word for what is still an uncertain conclusion.

The latest published paper by Greaves et al defends the detection see https://arxiv.org/abs/2012.05844

There is a paper (yet to be peer reviewed or published) at https://arxiv.org/abs/2101.09831 which states in the abstract that neither Phosphine or Sulphur Dioxide were detected in the Alma observation. This paper seems to ignore the detection on the first telescope on Hawaii (JCMT?)

The discussions will probably go on until we get better observations by another group.

John