Vortex Circulation on Venus Revealed by VIRTIS

Description: These videos show details of the planet’s south pole in Red-Blue color composite. The data obtained at 1.7 microns are shown in blue, while data obtained at 3.8 microns are represented in red. Two other versions, one with different color stretch and another with edge enhancement are shown to indicate the details of the inner vortex.

This composite video sequence was obtained by the Ultraviolet, Visible and Near-Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIRTIS) on board ESA’s Venus Express mission. The single images were taken over 5 different orbits from the 7th to the 11th of April 2007. In each orbit the images were collected over a time span of 8 hours and were separated by about half an hour.

The average distance from the planet was about 65,000 kilometers. The latitude of the observed area spans 50 to 90 degrees South. The longitude spans about 20 to 150 degrees East. Using specific wavelengths (3.8 and 1.7 microns, respectively), the observations allowed simultaneous imaging of the day and night areas around the south pole at different depths (at about 65 kilometres and below the cloud deck, respectively). The intersection between the polar atmospheric structures seen at different wavelengths is visible as well, due to the optical properties of the clouds.