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Venus in Another Light

Optical Image of Venus

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(optical image of Venus)

As you can see from the above picture, Venus looks rather featureless through an optical telescope. Some observations have already revealed that the night side of Venus shines brighter than the day side. Observations in other portions of the spectrum reveal information about Venus' atmosphere as well as its surface.

Infrared Image of Venus

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(figure 2.19)

This infrared image of Venus shows that more heat is radiated off of Venus at midnight than is radiated during the morning or afternoon. One possible reason is that the winds carry the warmer air from the day side around to the night side.

UV Image of Venus

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(figure 2.16)

This ultraviolet image shows rapid circulation of the gases in Venus' atmosphere, as what was expected from the radiation patterns in the infrared image. Venus' atmosphere circulates once every 4 days while the planet itself circulates only once every 243 days! This results in very strong, high-altitude winds which carry the warmer gases around to the cooler sides of the planet.

Radar Image of Venus

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(figure 2.21)

Researchers use radar to penetrate Venus' thick atmosphere and view the surface of the planet. This radar image shows that huge plains cover most of Venus' surface, but are separated, as on Earth, by volcanoes and mountainous terrain. Evidence suggests that a few volcanoes may even be active.

Note: Take optical from Australian server, and other images from the The New Astronomy book.

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