Venus in Ultraviolet Light

In visible light, the clouds of Venus are subtle shades of yellow and white. The yellow hue is due to an unknown chemical, and in ultraviolet light it reveals even more dramatic structure. Ultraviolet imaging has been important in studying the dynamics of the atmospheric winds.

The Pioneer Venus orbiter, the Venera 9 orbiter and Mariner 10 (on its way to Mercury) photographed Venus in ultraviolet. The image above is a composite of Mariner 10 images. The ruddy orange color is false.

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Copyright 2003 Don P. Mitchell. All rights reserved.