Venus in Infrared

Venus in IR_AkatsukiJAXA, the Japanese space agency, has a satellite orbiting Venus. Akatsuki took this photo of cloud patterns on the nightside of Venus from a distance of about 100,000 kilometers. The camera used sees at a wavelength of 2.26 microns, a wavelength at which the planet’s hot lower atmosphere radiates. This infrared light is blocked by clouds in some places but not others, silhouetting the clouds. Combining this data with data from other wavelengths and more images taken over time, Akatsuki scientists hope to watch the three-dimensional motion of Venus’ atmosphere.

Image Credit: JAXA

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