Science and Exploration

The Spin State And Moment Of Inertia Of Venus

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
March 2, 2021
Filed under ,
The Spin State And Moment Of Inertia Of Venus

Fundamental properties of the planet Venus, such as its internal mass distribution and variations in length of day, have remained unknown.

We used Earth-based observations of radar speckles tied to the rotation of Venus obtained in 2006-2020 to measure its spin axis orientation, spin precession rate, moment of inertia, and length-of-day variations. Venus is tilted by 2.6392 ± 0.0008 degrees (1σ) with respect to its orbital plane.

The spin axis precesses at a rate of 44.58 ± 3.3 arcseconds per year, which gives a normalized moment of inertia of 0.337 ± 0.024 and yields a rough estimate of the size of the core. The average sidereal day on Venus is currently 243.0226 ± 0.0013 Earth days (1σ). The spin period of the solid planet exhibits variations of 61 ppm (∼20 minutes) with a possible diurnal or semidiurnal forcing. The length-of-day variations imply that changes in atmospheric angular momentum of at least ∼4% are transferred to the solid planet.

Jean-Luc Margot, Donald B. Campbell, Jon D. Giorgini, Joseph S. Jao, Lawrence G. Snedeker, Frank D. Ghigo, Amber Bonsall

Comments: 20 pages, 7 figures, supplementary information. Submitted to Nature Astronomy on October 14, 2020
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Cite as: arXiv:2103.01504 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:2103.01504v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Jean-Luc Margot
[v1] Tue, 2 Mar 2021 06:45:24 UTC (4,995 KB)

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