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Venus Nightside through the Near Infrared Mapping
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Venus Nightside through the Near Infrared Mapping Spectrometer

March 18, 2003
This image is a false color version of a near infrared map of lower level clouds on the night side of Venus, obtained by the Near Infrared Mapping Spectrometer aboard the Galileo spacecraft as it approached the planet February 10, 1990. Taken from an altitude of about 60,000 miles above the planet, at an infrared wavelength of 2.3 microns (about three times the longest wavelength visible to the human eye) the map shows the turbulent, cloudy middle atmosphere some 30-33 miles above the surface, 6-10 miles below the visible cloudtops. The image shows the radiant heat from the lower atmosphere (about 400 degrees Fahrenheit) shining through the sulfuric acid clouds, which appear as much as 10 times darker than the bright gaps between clouds.


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