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No evidence of phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus from independent analyses

Villanueva, G. L. and Cordiner, M. and Irwin, P. G. J and de Pater, I. and Butler, B. and Gurwell, M. and Milam, S. N. and Nixon, C. A. and Luszcz-Cook, S. H. and Wilson, C. F. and Kofman, V. and Liuzzi, G. and Faggi, S. and Fauchez, T. J. and Lippi, M, and Cosentino, R. and Thelen, A. E. and Moullet, A. and Hartogh, P. and Molter, E. M. and Charnley, S. and Arney, G. N. and Mandell, A. M. and Biver, N. and Vandaele, A. C. and de Kleer, K. R. and Kopparapu, R. (2021) No evidence of phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus from independent analyses. Nature Astronomy, 5 (7). pp. 631-635. ISSN 2397-3366. doi:10.1038/s41550-021-01422-z.

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The detection of phosphine (PH₃) in the atmosphere of Venus has been recently reported on the basis of millimetre-wave radio observations and their reanalyses. In this Matters Arising we perform an independent reanalysis, identifying several issues in the interpretation of the spectroscopic data. As a result, we determine sensitive upper limits for PH₃ in Venus’s atmosphere (>75 km, above the cloud decks) that are discrepant with the findings in refs. 1,2,3.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription ReadCube access Item2018.A.00023.S ALMA data ItemJCMT data Article Article Paper
Villanueva, G. L.0000-0002-2662-5776
Cordiner, M.0000-0001-8233-2436
Irwin, P. G. J0000-0002-6772-384X
de Pater, I.0000-0002-4278-3168
Butler, B.0000-0002-5344-820X
Gurwell, M.0000-0003-0685-3621
Milam, S. N.0000-0001-7694-4129
Nixon, C. A.0000-0001-9540-9121
Luszcz-Cook, S. H.0000-0001-9867-9119
Wilson, C. F.0000-0001-5355-1533
Kofman, V.0000-0002-5060-1993
Liuzzi, G.0000-0003-3638-5750
Faggi, S.0000-0003-0194-5615
Fauchez, T. J.0000-0002-5967-9631
Lippi, M,0000-0001-9185-878X
Cosentino, R.0000-0003-3047-615X
Thelen, A. E.0000-0002-8178-1042
Moullet, A.0000-0002-9820-1032
Hartogh, P.0000-0002-9550-6551
Molter, E. M.0000-0003-3799-9033
Charnley, S.0000-0001-6752-5109
Arney, G. N.0000-0001-6285-267X
Mandell, A. M.0000-0002-8119-3355
Biver, N.0000-0003-2414-5370
Vandaele, A. C.0000-0001-8940-9301
de Kleer, K. R.0000-0002-9068-3428
Kopparapu, R.0000-0002-5893-2471
Alternate Title:No phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus
Additional Information:© 2021 Nature Publishing Group. Received 26 October 2020; Accepted 07 June 2021; Published 16 July 2021. We would like to commend the team of Greaves et al. for making their data and scripts available. ALMA is a partnership of ESO (representing its member states), NSF (USA) and NINS (Japan), together with NRC (Canada), MOST and ASIAA (Taiwan) and KASI (Republic of Korea), in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. The Joint ALMA Observatory is operated by ESO, AUI/NRAO and NAOJ. The JCMT data were collected under project S16BP007. JCMT is operated by the EAO on behalf of NAOJ, ASIAA, KASI and CAMS as well as the National Key R&D Programme of China (2017YFA0402700). Additional funding support is provided by the STFC and participating universities in the United Kingdom and Canada. We recognize and acknowledge the very significant cultural role and reverence that the summit of Maunakea has always had within the indigenous Hawaiian community. We are most fortunate to have the opportunity to conduct observations from this mountain. Data availability: This paper makes use of the 2018.A.00023.S ALMA data, available at The JCMT data are available at Author Contributions: G.L.V., P.G.J.I., M.G., V.K. and G.L. performed the retrievals and the radiative-transfer modelling. M.C., I.d.P. and B.B. calibrated and analysed the ALMA data. S.N.M., C.A.N., S.H.L.-C., R.C., A.E.T., A.M., E.M.M., S.C., N.B. and K.R.d.K. assisted with the interpretation of the interferometric spectra. C.F.W., S.F., T.J.F., M.L., P.H., G.N.A., A.M.M., A.C.V. and R.K. assisted with the interpretation of the results in the context of the Venusian atmosphere and its photochemistry. All authors contributed to writing and revising the manuscript. The authors declare no competing interests. Peer review information: Nature Astronomy thanks the anonymous reviewers for their contribution to the peer review of this work.
Group:Astronomy Department
Funding AgencyGrant Number
National Key Research and Development Program of China2017YFA0402700
Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Astrobiology; Atmospheric chemistry
Issue or Number:7
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20201030-142420466
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Villanueva, G.L., Cordiner, M., Irwin, P.G.J. et al. No evidence of phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus from independent analyses. Nat Astron 5, 631–635 (2021).
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:106365
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:30 Oct 2020 23:06
Last Modified:05 Oct 2021 20:11

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