Detection of phosphine molecules

18 November, 2020

This animation shows an artistic impression of our Solar System neighbour Venus, where scientists have confirmed the detection of phosphine molecules, a representation of which is shown in the inset towards the end of the video. The molecules were detected in the Venusian high clouds in data from the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). Astronomers have speculated for decades that life could exist in Venus’s high clouds. The detection of phosphine could point to such extra-terrestrial “aerial” life. Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser/L. Calçada & NASA/JPL/Caltech