FP trendFebruary 26, 2021. 18:01:21 IST
The Parker Solar spacecraft, designed and sent into space by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), has returned some new images of the planet Venus. They capture a close neighbor of the Earth during the night, which is a rarely witnessed sight. A wide-field recorder (WISPR) on the probe took photos as it approached Venus on July 11, 2020, according to NASA edition. Although the main object of research is the Sun probe, it will make seven Venus during its seven-year mission. To reach the Sun, the spacecraft uses the gravity of Venus to change its orbit. The published images were taken during the third such maneuver, in July 2020.
The WISPR camera captured the illuminated perimeter around Venus, which scientists believe is the night glow, or light emitted by oxygen atoms high in the atmosphere as they recombine into molecules in the absence of sunlight. The painting also gave a clear view of Aphrodite Teru – the largest mountain region on the Venusian surface, a dark feature in the center of the painting. The dark spot visible on the lower part of Venus is not an object but an artifact from the WISPR instrument.
U blog post, NASA said that bright streaks in WISPR, like those seen here, usually form when many charged particles, reflected sunlight, and spacecraft particles gather when it hits grains of dust. However, experts are still studying the exact origin of the traces in this particular case.
Angelos Vourlidas, a WISPR project scientist from the Johns Hopkins Laboratory of Applied Physics (APL), said the picture surprised the team. WISPR was designed to capture the solar corona and inner heliosphere in visible light, but when it occupied the surface of Venus, scientists expected to find only clouds. This means that the instrument could capture close to the infrared wavelength of light, which can come in handy for studying the sun. Alternatively, the spacecraft may have found a previously unknown window of transparency through the Venusian atmosphere to capture the surface below.