News & Events

Dr. Limaye's Talk on Venus Transit

Public Lecture: The 2012 Venus Transit

[ April 2012 ] Presented by Dr. Sanjay Limaye, Chair of the Venus Exploration Analysis Group (NASA), as part of the "Wednesday Nite @ the Lab" series at UW-Madison. Topics include the history, significance, and implication of observing Venus transit and what we could learn from the planet Venus.
Akatsuki takes images of Sagittarius

AKATSUKI takes images of Sagittarius using its onboard cameras

[ October 2010 ] On October 8, the onboard cameras of the AKATSUKI took images of a part of Sagittarius. Thus Sagittarius shot by the UVI, which observes ultraviolet rays, and the IR1, which catches infrared rays, looks different from what the human eye can see.
2010 VEXAG Workshop

2010 VEXAG Venus Workshop Highlights Venus Exploration

[ August 2010 ] The Venus Explorations Analysis Group (VEXAG) convened at the Monona Terrace Convention Center for its annual workshop on 30 August - 2 September 2010. The workshop featured scientists and researchers from around the globe, presenting and discussing details of current and upcoming Venus missions, including Japan's Akatsuki and Russia's Venera-D missions, and the future of Venus exploration.
AKATSUKI successfully launched

AKATSUKI successfully launched and flying smoothly!

[ May 2010 ] The H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 17 (H-IIA F17) with the Venus Climate Orbiter "AKATSUKI" onboard was launched at 6:58:22 a.m. on May 21 (Japan Standard Time) from the Tanegashima Space Center. The H-IIA F17 flew smoothly, and, at 27 minutes and 29 seconds after liftoff, the AKATSUKI was separated from the H-IIA.
Venus at its best

"AKATSUKI" Message Campaign

[ November 2009 ] The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (AJAX) would like to invite people around the world to send messages to Venus. The Venus Climate Orbiter, which will be launched next year from Japan, will deliver your names and messages on special aluminium plates aboard the spacecraft.
Venus at its best

Bright Spot on Venus: Weather ?

[ August 2009 ] On July 19, 2009, Frank Melillo took a picture of Venus through an ultraviolet filter from his backyard in Holtsville, New York state and saw a bright spot near the limb, almost at the same time as the first picture of the recent impact on Jupiter taken by an amateur in Australia (Anthony Wesley)... Full Story »
Venus at its best

Venus at its 8-Year Best

[ March 2009 ] On March 27th, our sister planet will be at inferior conjunction - as close as it will come this year to being directly between us and the Sun. As that date approaches the crescent seems too thin to be real, and it sports exotic cusp extensions... Full Story »
Article on Venus' vortex circulation published GRL

Article on Venus' vortex circulation published in Geophysical Research Letters (GRL)

[ February 2009 ] Using an idealized nonlinear and nondivergent barotropic model, Limaye et al. show that these S-shaped features are the manifestations of barotropic instability... Full story »
Venus Nightglow

Watching Venus glow in the dark

[ February 2009 ] ESA's Venus Express spacecraft has observed an eerie glow in the night-time atmosphere of Venus. This infrared light comes from nitric oxide and is showing scientists that the atmosphere of Earth's nearest neighbour is a temperamental place of high winds and turbulence... Full story »
ESA extends missions studying Venus magnetosphere

ESA extends missions studying Venus magnetosphere

[ February 2009 ] ESA's Science Programme Committee has extended the operations of ESA's Venus Express until 31 December 2009...Full Story »
First VEX public data release

Venus Express unveils the cause of Venus' global cloud patterns

[ December 2008 ] A recent study combining data collected with the VMC and the VIRTIS instruments on board Venus Express has shed light on the atmospheric conditions that give rise to the presence and distribution of the as-yet-unidentified UV absorbers. These absorbers are responsible for the characteristic dark features in the UV images of Venus' cloud deck...Full Story »
Japan Mission to Venus

Japan prepares mission to Venus - PLANET-C (Venus Climate Orbiter)

[ October 2008 ] The Venus Climate Orbiter mission (PLANET-C), one of the future planetary missions of Japan, aims at understanding the atmospheric circulation of Venus...Full Story »
VEX article published in Ciel et Terre

Venus Express articles published in Ciel et Terre

[ December 2007 ] Bulletin de la Société Royale belge d'Astronomie, de Météorologie et de Physique du Globe, Vol. 123, n°6.
First VEX public data release

First Venus Express public data release

[ September 2007 ] Data from the VMC, SPICAV-SOIR, VIRTIS and MAG instruments on Venus Express have been delivered to the ESA Planetary System Archive and are now freely available to interested users. These data have been the basis for some of the first scientific highlights from the Venus Express mission...Full Story »

News Archives

Featured Article

[October 2011]

ESA finds that Venus has an ozone layer too

Venus Express made the discovery while watching stars seen right at the edge of the planet set through its atmosphere. Its SPICAV instrument analysed the starlight, looking for the characteristic fingerprints of gases in the atmosphere as they absorbed light at specific wavelengths. The ozone was detectable because it absorbed some of the ultraviolet from the starlight...View Full Story »

[ November 2010]

Venus holds warning for Earth

A mysterious high-altitude layer of sulphur dioxide discovered by ESA's Venus Express has been explained. As well as telling us more about Venus, it could be sending a warning to those on Earth seeking to inject our atmosphere with sulphur droplets in an attempt to mitigate climate change... View Full Story »

Featured Story

[ August 2009]

Weather on Venus?

Weather on Venus?

On July 19, 2009, Frank Melillo took a picture of Venus through an ultraviolet filter from his backyard in Holtsville, New York state and saw a bright spot near the limb, almost at the same time as the first picture of the recent impact on Jupiter taken by an amateur in Australia (Anthony Wesley). Frank was imaging Venus based on an alert to the amateur astronomers put out through ALPO (Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers) that some Venus volcanoes were going to be approaching the terminator.

Surprisingly, Frank's image showed a brighter than usual spot in the southern hemisphere, far away from the volcanoes. The bright spot in Frank's image and two others were also captured in an image taken about 10. 5 hours earlier by George Tasourdis.

Fortunately, the Venus Monitoring Camera (VMC) built at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany) for European Space Agency's Venus Express Orbiter was monitoring Venus during this period. VMC images on July 19th indeed show about 30% brighter than usual "spot" ~1000 km in size located at ~ 50°S (Figure 2). This bright region appears in one of the southern streaks seen almost every day on Venus which characteristically spirals towards the pole as a part of hemispheric vortex centered on the pole.

View Full Story »

Featured Publication

[ February 2009 ]

Exploring Venus: Why is it so different from Earth?

Published in Ciel et Terre (PDF)

[ February 2009 ]

Article on Venus' vortex circulation published in Geophysical Research Letters (GRL)

At cloud top level, Venus's entire atmosphere circles the planet in just about four Earth days, much faster than the solid planet does. Despite this "superrotation," some dynamical and morphological similarities exist between the vortex organization in the atmospheres of Venus's northern and southern hemispheres and tropical cyclones and hurricanes on Earth. First detected by the Pioneer Venus Orbiter near the northern pole and recently by Venus Express orbiter around the southern pole, an S-shaped feature in the center of the vortices on Venus is also known to occur in Earth's tropical cyclones.

Using an idealized nonlinear and nondivergent barotropic model, Limaye et al. show that these S-shaped features are the manifestations of barotropic instability. They find that similar to the S-shapes seen in tropical cyclones, the S-shapes in Venus's vortices are transient. Given the challenges in measuring the deep circulation of Venus's atmosphere, the authors expect that the morphological similarities between vortices on Earth and Venus might help scientists better understand atmospheric superrotation on Venus and guide future observations.

[ View article (PDF) ]

[ See animations included in this article ]

Last Update: April 17, 2012