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Rapid change in the weather in the highest Venus atmosphere
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Short-term changes in the bands of cloud and mist at the southern polar region of the planet can be seen in this collection of shots with the UV filter of the Venus Express Venus Monitoring Camera (VMC).
In picture d (bottom left) the position of the south pole can be seen on the bottom left edge of the picture where all the lines of longitude intersect at one point. The strongly marked super rotation on Venus - the movement of the clouds that is much faster than the rotational speed of the planet itself, runs anti-clockwise. The bands take between three and five Earth days for one orbit depending on the degree of latitude. The wind speeds get up to 360 kilometres per hour.
Pictures a - c in the top row were taken by the VMC between 27th and 30th June 2006 at a distance of about 65,000 kilometres. It is very easy to see the changes in the extensive cloud cover from one day to another.
Particularly clear are the dynamics of the Venus atmosphere in picture d, taken on 13 January 2007 from a distance of 35 000 kilometres. A light pall of haze has spread out from the south pole northwards to 35° latitude and covers a large number of structures that were visible shortly before (picture taken on 27 December 2006). A little later the light pall of haze has disappeared again, probably because it has amalgamated to form larger aerosol particles.
Hot stuff on Venus! Looking on the hell-like surface of Earth's twin through a very special "window" in the clouds with Venus Express
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