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The many faces of Venus' south polar vortex

The many faces of Venus' south polar vortex


The many faces of Venus' south polar vortex
Venus' south polar vortex changes over time in complicated patterns. These are just four snapshots from Venus Express' observations of the strange feature. They were taken by the VIRTIS camera at a near-infrared wavelength of at 3.8 microns. The images show the temperature of the cloud top at an altitude of about 65 kilometers. Darker regions correspond to higher temperatures and thus lower altitudes. The center of the vortex, at a temperature of about 250 Kelvins (-25 C / 20 F), is the deepest zone, exhibiting the highest temperatures.

Most ESA images can be reused for noncommercial purposes as long as they are properly credited. For more information and other uses, read ESA's copyright notice.

Original image data dated on or about September 23, 2010

Explore related images: BMSIL, pretty pictures, Venus Express, Venus

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