Posts Tagged ‘VIRTIS’

Venus Vortices Go For Chaotic Multi-Storey Strolls Around The Poles

Credit: ESA/VIRTIS/INAF-IASF/Obs. de Paris-LESIA/Universidad del País Vasco (I. Garate-Lopez)

Credit: ESA/VIRTIS/INAF-IASF/Obs. de Paris-LESIA/Universidad del País Vasco (I. Garate-Lopez)

A detailed study of Venus’ South Polar Vortex shows a much more chaotic and unpredictable cyclone than previously thought. The analysis reveals that the center of rotation of the vortex wanders around the pole differently at different altitude levels in the clouds of Venus. In its stroll around the Pole, in layers separated by 20 km, the vortex experiences unpredictable changes in its morphology.

The results of this study are published online in Nature Geoscience today.

The study, entitled ‘A chaotic long-lived vortex at the southern pole of Venus’, used infrared images from VIRTIS instrument onboard the European Space Agency’s Venus Express spacecraft. VIRTIS provides spectral images at different levels of the atmosphere and allows the observation of the lower and upper clouds of Venus.

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Could Venus Be Shifting Gear?

February 10, 2012 Leave a comment

ESA’s Venus Express spacecraft has discovered that our cloud-covered neighbour spins a little slower than previously measured. Peering through the dense atmosphere in the infrared, the orbiter found surface features were not quite where they should be.

Using the VIRTIS instrument at infrared wavelengths to penetrate the thick cloud cover, scientists studied surface features and discovered that some were displaced by up to 20 km from where they should be given the accepted rotation rate as measured by NASA’s Magellan orbiter in the early 1990s.

These detailed measurements from orbit are helping scientists determine whether Venus has a solid or liquid core, which will help our understanding of the planet’s creation and how it evolved.

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