With all the attention on Mars and Mercury the past few days, here’s a previously unpublished view of Venus.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.
Unlike Earth, Venus does not generate a magnetic field. Earth’s magnetic field protects its atmosphere from the solar wind. At Venus, however, the wind strikes the upper atmosphere and carries off particles into space. Scientists think the planet has lost its water in this way over the 4.5 billion years since its birth. Learn more Continue reading “Naked to the Wind”
Venus has been spectacular in the evening sky lately, the brighter of a pair of stars seen at dusk (the other is Jupiter). In this mosaic of images from the Venus Express orbiter, we see the planet as viewed in infrared (shown here as red) and ultraviolet light. Continue reading “The Evening Star in a New Light”
Venus could have been much like the Earth. Instead, a stroll on the surface of our neighbor world would be like trying to walk at the bottom of the ocean, due to the thick air—not to mention like walking in an oven, due to the 400-degree centigrade temperature. Continue reading “Catastrophe from the Clouds”