Close-up View over Venus's South Polar Vortex
This movie provides a close-up view of the double-eyed vortex at Venus's south pole, as seen by the Ultraviolet/Visible/Near-Infrared spectrometer (VIRTIS). The images were taken on 29 May 2006, at a distance of about 64 000 kilometres from the planet.
The images were taken at 5.05 microns, corresponding to an atmospheric altitude of about 59 kilometres, just about at the Venusian cloud deck. The view is 20° inclined with respect to vertical pointing.
The brighter the colour in the image, the more radiation is coming from the hot layers below. The brightest spot corresponds to the centre of the vortex, where radiation from the deeper layers becomes clearly visible. The dark circular structures surrounding the brighter area belong to the big vortex structure - 2500 kilometres across - and are part of the planet's atmospheric super-rotation.