ANALYSIS: Venus Spacecraft Punched, Blinded by Solar Radiation
First observed in 1985 by two Soviet Vega balloon probes, this atmospheric phenomenon has now also been confirmed by the Venus Monitoring Camera (VMC) on ESA's Venus Express.
These gravity waves can only exist in a stably stratified, layered atmosphere. Here on Earth they're often manifested as "wave trains" - a series of regularly-spaced waves traveling in the same direction.
Observed in multiple wavelengths (ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared), wave trains on Venus have so far mostly been found 37-43 miles (60-70 km) altitude and at higher, colder latitudes, 60-80 degrees north - which is directly above the rugged, complex geography of the Ishtar Terra highlands.
ANALYSIS: ‘Asteroid' 2010 AL30 Might Be Venus Express Rocket
"This is an exciting result because it strengthens the case that topography is likely to be a significant influence on the atmospheric circulation of Venus," said Håkan Svedhem, ESA's project scientist for Venus Express.