No Phosphine In The Atmosphere Of Venus

By Keith Cowing
October 27, 2020
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No Phosphine In The Atmosphere Of Venus

The detection of phosphine (PH3) has been recently reported in the atmosphere of Venus employing mm-wave radio observations (Greaves et at. 2020). We here demonstrate that the observed PH3 feature with JCMT can be fully explained employing plausible mesospheric SO2 abundances (~100 ppbv as per the SO2 profile given in their figure 9), while the identification of PH3 in the ALMA data should be considered invalid due to severe baseline calibration issues.

We demonstrate this by independently calibrating and analyzing the ALMA data using different interferometric analysis tools, in which we observe no PH3 in all cases.

Furthermore, for any PH3 signature to be produced in either ALMA or JCMT spectra, PH3 needs to present at altitudes above 70 km, in stark disagreement with their photochemical network. We ultimately conclude that this detection of PH3 in the atmosphere of Venus is incorrect and invite the Greaves et al. team to revise their work and consider a correction or retraction of their original report.

Geronimo Villanueva, Martin Cordiner, Patrick Irwin, Imke de Pater, Bryan Butler, Mark Gurwell, Stefanie Milam, Conor Nixon, Statia Luszcz-Cook, Colin Wilson, Vincent Kofman, Giuliano Liuzzi, Sara Faggi, Thomas Fauchez, Manuela Lippi, Richard Cosentino, Alexander Thelen, Arielle Moullet, Paul Hartogh, Mr. Edward Molter, Steve Charnley, Giada Arney, Avi Mandell, Nicolas Biver, Ann Vandaele, Katherine de Kleer, Ravi Kopparapu

Comments: Submitted to Nature Astronomy “Matters Arising” on Oct/26/2020 – Submitted to arXiv on Oct/27/2020 as encouraged and recommended by the journal
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP); Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM)
Cite as: arXiv:2010.14305 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:2010.14305v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Geronimo Villanueva
[v1] Tue, 27 Oct 2020 14:08:59 UTC (632 KB)
Astrobiology, Astrochemistry,

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻