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Venus’ surface as seen by the VMC
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- Title Venus’ surface as seen by the VMC
- Released 09/11/2007 10:06 am
- Copyright ESA/VMC/MPS/IPF-DLR
This image is a false colour mosaic of the Venusian surface, composed from about 1000 individual Venus Monitoring Camera (VMC) images taken in April and August 2007. The pictures were taken in the infrared in the spectral window at the wavelength of 1 micrometre.
The mapped area covers Beta and Phoebe Regios in the mid- to equatorial latitudes.
Lowlands with higher surface temperature, and hence stronger thermal emission, are maked in orange. Highlands and mountains with elevations of up to 5 km above the Venusian ‘sea level’ are about 40°C colder and appear blue in the mosaic.
The vast orange-yellow region, Hinemoa Planitia, represents relatively young lowland terrain that cover about 70% of the Venus surface. It formed about 700 million years ago due to volcanic eruptions that covered almost the entire planet.
Devana Chasma, the elongated feature connecting Beta Regio and Phoebe Regio, is a rift zone, resembling East-African rift on Earth. Rifts are expected to be the centres of current volcanic activity on Venus.
In contrast to mapping of the planets with thin atmospheres like Moon and Mars, spatial resolution on the Venus surface is strongly degraded because of its thick atmosphere and clouds. This veil scatters radiation numerous times before it reaches the camera.
This is why observing Venus’ surface from orbit is similar to looking though a frosted window where one can see only the silhouette of the object. This atmospheric blurring limits spatial resolution of the surface images to about 50 km.