Venus Plasma Noise: An Important Interdisciplinary Issue?
Low frequency electric field noise in the Venus night ionosphere has been persistently interpreted as evidence of almost continuous lightning discharges, and inferred to originate from explosive volcanism. If correct, these assertions would indeed be an important interdisciplinary issue. If present, these phenomena would contradict current understanding of both atmospheric electrification and geological processes at Earth and published interpretations of conditions at Venus. However, independent analysis has revealed that much of the noise reported is either linked with natural ionospheric disturbances, or the result of interference generated at or near the spacecraft. In no case have the advocates of the lightning-volcanism scenario presented analyses of the dispersion and polarization characteristics of the vlf signals, and we note that the data do not exhibit characteristics expected for whistler waves propagating up to the spacecraft. Thus we conclude that the plasma noise is totally unrelated to either lighting or volcanism, and is certainly not an important interdisciplinary issue.
KeywordsInterplanetary Magnetic Field Impulsive Noise Lightning Discharge Whistler Wave Solar Wind Interaction
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