Venus Approach

A series of images taken from the latest data set that was recently released from the Venus Express mission:

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The Venus Express spacecraft falls toward the planet on December 28, 2012 as it completes another polar orbit. This view comes from the orbiter’s Venus Monitoring Camera in ultraviolet light. The color is added. To the naked eye, the planet looks like a smooth, white ball with a slight yellow tinge. Credit: ESA / W. Markiewicz (MPAe, Lindau) / Bill Dunford

Learn more about this mission’s investigations into the planet’s thick, swirling clouds. And check out this animation of an earlier orbit, created by Björn Jónsson:

Venus Approach

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The swirling clouds of Venus. Image: ESA/ W. Markiewicz (MPAe, Lindau)/Bill Dunford

With all the attention on Mars and Mercury the past few days, here’s a previously unpublished view of Venus. I constructed this sequence from raw images taken in ultraviolet light by the Venus Monitoring Camera on board the Venus Express orbiter.

Among the mission’s discoveries during its six years at the second planet, Venus Express has recently seen evidence that active volcanoes may be hiding under these seemingly serene clouds.