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Phosphine and Photochemistry on Venus

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Recently, PH3 was observed in the clouds of Venus. I will provide a brief summary of the detection and analysis. I will then talk about how destructive photochemistry of PH3 constrains its lifetime, and provides one test that any proposed mechanism must pass in order to explain the observed concentrations of PH3 in the atmosphere. I will discuss potential mechanisms to produce PH3 on Venus, and will show that they are insufficient to explain the observations. I will briefly discuss the possibility of and challenges faced by microbial life in the clouds of Venus, and the broad implications of future research, whether or not life is present in the clouds of Venus.

This talk is part of the Cambridge University Astronomical Society (CUAS) series.

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