These panels show the oxygen airglow in the night-side atmosphere of Venus, fully detectable only at specific infrared wavelengths. This false-colour view was obtained on Aug. 26, 2006 by the Visible and Infrared Thermal Imaging Spectrometer (VIRTIS) onboard ESA’s Venus Express, at a distance of 65,000 kilometres from Venus’ surface, from the south. The horizon seen at the bottom-right in both panels is about Venus’ equator.
This image shows the full view of the southern hemisphere from equator (right) to the pole. The south pole is surrounded by a dark oval feature. Moving to the right, away from the pole and towards the equator, we see streaky clouds, a bright mid-latitude band and mottled clouds in the convective sub-solar region. This image was taken on July 23, 2007.
With data from Venus Express, scientists have learnt that the equatorial areas on Venus that appear dark in ultraviolet light are regions of relatively high temperature. In contrast, the bright regions at mid-latitudes are areas where the temperature in the atmosphere decreases with depth.
The lower left of this image shows a differential temperature map (not absolute values) of the venusian cloud tops, derived from the Visible and Infrared Thermal Imaging Spectrometer, VIRTIS, on the planet’s night-side. The darker the region, the colder the cloud tops.
This image, of the ‘eye of the hurricane’ on Venus was taken by the Visible and Infrared Thermal Imaging Spectrometer (VIRTIS) on board Venus Express.
This is a picture of Venus’s atmosphere, taken by the Venus Monitoring Camera (VMC) during Venus Express orbit number 465 on July 30, 2007. The view shows the southern hemisphere of the planet.
An unprocessed thermal map of the Venusian surface obtained by VIRTIS on June 5, 2007 (left) is compared here with a radar image of the same area obtained by NASA’s Magellan spacecraft in the 1990s (right).
The image shows the oxygen airglow in the night-side of Venus, appearing as the bright features similar to ‘clouds’ visible at the bottom of the image, and also visible as the white ring surrounding the planet’s disk (limb). This grey-scale image was taken on June 3, 2006.
This false-colour ultraviolet view is one of the first-ever images of the southern hemisphere of Venus, showing the day and night sides over the South pole. It was taken on April 12, 2006.
This sequence of images was taken by the Ultraviolet/Visible/Near-Infrared spectrometer (VIRTIS) on board ESA’s Venus Express spacecraft between April 12 and 19, 2006, during the first orbit (capture orbit) around the planet.
In this image, it is possible to see interesting atmospheric stripe-like structures. Spotted for the first time by Mariner 10 in the 1970s, they may be due to the presence of dust and aerosols in the atmosphere, but their true nature is still unexplained. This image was taken on April 19, 2006.
This composite image shows six infrared views of Venus as seen by the Ultraviolet/Visible/Near-Infrared spectrometer (VIRTIS) on board ESA’s Venus Express spacecraft between 12 and 19 April 2006, during the first orbit, or ‘capture orbit’, around the planet.
The bright big spot on the left of the image corresponds to an area where the cloud deck is thinner. This image was taken Sept. 23, 2006.
The image, taken at a wavelength of 1.7-micrometre, shows the thermal radiation emitted from about 15-20 kilometres altitude. The brighter the colour (towards white), the more radiation comes from the surface, so the less cloudy the region in the line of sight between the view and the spacecraft is. This image was taken July 22, 2006.
On this radar-map of Venus, built with data that NASA’s Magellan gathered in the early 1990s, the areas that were over-flown by Venus Express on August 10, 2006 are indicated by the named features.
The night-side hemisphere (in red at the top) is made of infrared images taken at 1.74 micrometres, showing the lower layers of the cloud deck surrounding the planet at about 45-km altitude. This image was taken May 16, 2006.
This composite image of Venus is a combination of ultraviolet images obtained by the Venus Monitoring Camera (VMC) and infrared images obtained by the Visual and Infrared Thermal Mapping Spectrometer (VIRTIS) on board ESA’s Venus Express.