South Polar Vortex
This composite video sequence was obtained by the Ultraviolet, Visible and Near-Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIRTIS) on board ESA’s Venus Express.
The single images were taken from 7 to 11 April 2007 over 5 different orbits. In each orbit the images were collected during a time span of 8 hours and were separated by about half an hour. The average distance from the planet was about 65 000 kilometres.
The latitude of the observed area spans from 90 to 50 degrees South. The longitude spans from about 20 to 150 degrees East.
The video shows details of the planet’s south pole with edge-enhanced contrast.
Using specific wavelengths (3.8 and 1.7 microns, respectively), the observations allowed the imaging of the day and night areas around the south pole simultaneously, at different depths (at about 65 kilometres and below the cloud deck, respectively) simultaneously. The intersection between the polar atmospheric structures seen at different wavelengths is visible in good detail, due to the optical properties of the clouds.