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VENUSIAN HEAT
Cassini Spies Bright Venus From Saturn Orbit
by Staff Writers
Pasadena CA (JPL) Mar 07, 2013


Peering over the shoulder of giant Saturn, through its rings, and across interplanetary space, NASA's Cassini spacecraft spies the bright, cloudy terrestrial planet, Venus. The vast distance from Saturn means that Venus only shows up as a white dot, just above and to the right of the image center. This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 17 degrees below the ring plane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Nov. 10, 2012. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute. For a larger version of this image please go here.

A distant world gleaming in sunlight, Earth's twin planet, Venus, shines like a bright beacon in images taken by NASA's Cassini spacecraft in orbit around Saturn.

One special image of Venus and Saturn was taken last November when Cassini was placed in the shadow of Saturn. This allowed Cassini to look in the direction of the sun and Venus, and take a backlit image of Saturn and its rings in a particular viewing geometry called "high solar phase." This observing position reveals details about the rings and Saturn's atmosphere that cannot be seen in lower solar phase.

One of the Venus and Saturn images being released is a combination of separate red, green and blue images covering the planet and main rings and processed to produce true color. Last December, a false-color version of the mosaic was released.

Another image, taken in January, captures Venus just beyond the limb of Saturn and in close proximity to Saturn's G ring, a thin ring just beyond the main Saturnian rings. The diffuse E ring, which is outside the G ring and created by the spray of the moon Enceladus, also is visible.

Venus is, along with Mercury, Earth and Mars, one of the rocky "terrestrial" planets in the solar system that orbit relatively close to the sun. Though Venus has an atmosphere of carbon dioxide that reaches nearly 900 degrees Fahrenheit (500 degrees Celsius) and a surface pressure 100 times that of Earth's, it is considered a twin to our planet because of their similar sizes, masses, rocky compositions and close orbits. It is covered in thick sulfuric acid clouds, making it very bright.

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Related Links
Cassini at JPL
Cassini images
Venus Express News and Venusian Science






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VENUSIAN HEAT
The tail of Venus and the weak solar wind
Paris (ESA) Feb 01, 2013
Measurements obtained with ESA's Venus Express spacecraft have shed new light on the interaction between the solar wind and the second planet from the Sun. During a rare period of very low density solar outflow, the ionosphere of Venus was observed to become elongated downstream, rather like a long-tailed comet. Scientists have long known about the existence of the solar wind, a continuous ... read more


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