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Phosphine at Deeper Level in Venus


Recently, scientists have detected phosphine at deeper level in Venus’ atmosphere than before using the James Clark Maxwell Telescope (JCMT) at Mauna Kea Observatory, Hawaii.


GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the article:

  1. Phosphine
  2. Properties of Phosphine
  3. Uses of Phosphine
  4. Key Facts about Venus


  • Phosphine is naturally produced on Earth by bacteria in low-oxygen environments.
  • Earth bacteria acquire phosphate from minerals or biological material and combine it with hydrogen to produce phosphine.
  • Also known as hydrogen phosphide.

Properties of Phosphine:

Colorless, Flammable, and Toxic:

  • Phosphine is a colorless gas with a strong garlic-like odor.
  • It is highly flammable and extremely toxic.


  • Phosphine is formed through the action of a strong base or hot water on white phosphorus.
  • It can also be generated by the reaction of water with calcium phosphide (Ca3P2).

Structural Similarity:

  • Phosphine has a structural resemblance to ammonia (NH3).
  • However, it is a less effective solvent and less soluble in water compared to ammonia.

Uses of Phosphine:

Semiconductor and Plastics Industries: Phosphine finds application in the semiconductor and plastics industries.

Flame Retardant: It is used in the production of flame retardants.

Pesticide: Phosphine serves as a pesticide for stored grain.

Key Facts about Venus:

  • Proximity to Earth: Venus is Earth’s closest planetary neighbor.
  • Structure and Position: It has a structure similar to Earth but is slightly smaller and the second planet from the sun.
  • Atmosphere: Venus is enveloped by a dense and toxic atmosphere that traps heat.
  • Extreme Surface Temperatures: Surface temperatures on Venus can reach an intense 880 degrees Fahrenheit (471 degrees Celsius).
  • Slow Rotation: Venus rotates very slowly on its axis, with one day on Venus lasting 243 Earth days.
  • Unique Spin: Unlike other planets in our solar system, Venus spins clockwise on its axis.

-Source: Live Mint

December 2023