SCIENCE
06/14/2013 08:12 am ET

Metal Snow On Venus? Metallic Frost On Planet's Peaks Falls From Atmosphere, Scientists Say

NASA

Bothered by the pelting rain this hurricane season? Be thankful you don't live on Venus, where it seems to snow heavy metal!

Scientists have never actually seen snow fall on Venus, but they have observed metallic frost capping the planet's mountains, according to Discovery News. The frost -- believed to be composed of the minerals galena (lead sulfide) and bismuthinite (bismuth sulfide) -- was first observed as mysterious bright patches in radar imaging maps produced by NASA's Magellan Mission to Venus in 1989.

How is snowing metal even possible? Dr. Bruce Fegley, professor of earth and planetary scientists at Washington University in St. Louis, and co-discover of the frost's metal make-up, explained in an email to The Huffington Post:

On Venus the lower atmosphere and surface are hundreds of degrees hotter than the surface of the Earth and metallic compounds emitted by volcanoes on Venus condense in the cooler regions of the atmosphere and snow out on the surface.

And Venus isn't the only celestial body with some weird precipitation. On Mars, the snow is made of carbon dioxide.

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