The image shows temperatures in a large area of the southern hemisphere of Venus, based on an infrared image-data mosaic obtained by Venus Express during orbit 112 on 10 August 2006. Both global perspectives show the identical area, and the mapping projection is centred on 270º eastern longitude and 50º southern latitude (the south pole is where the grid lines are focussed). It is a region that has experienced strong volcanic activity, at least in the geologic past.
On the left side the surface temperatures as measured by VIRTIS are displayed, and for comparison on the right hand side the temperature as modelled using Magellan topography. The temperature range is displayed in the coloured scale at the bottom: The heat on the extremely hot surface of Venus varies between about 450ºC and 475ºC. Blue is representing lower temperature in the topographical lowlands; in yellow and red the highest temperatures on higher terrain are visualized, respectively.
The direct comparison shows that VIRTIS can indeed penetrate the clouds of Venus and map the surface temperature. Small differences (especially on the upper left part of the mosaic) are mainly due to cloud effects not yet fully accounted for in the declouding procedure. Distance from the planet was about 60,000 km.
Image: ESA/VIRTIS VenusX-Team.