Stunning new image of Venus reveals nightglow on the planet’s edge

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Another advantage of the Parker solar probe, designed for a detailed study of the Sun, is that it is able to examine planets as they pass their orbits. By refining its orbit around our Sun, Parker will pass Venus a total of seven times during its seven-year mission. The Parker probe uses the planets’ gravitational pull to bend its way through the solar system.

Recorded on July 11, 2020, a fascinating new image of Venus was taken during the third of Parker’s seven planned encounters with the Sun. This photo was recorded by the Wide Field Imager for Parker Solar Probe (WISPR) at a distance of 12,380 kilometers (7,693 miles) from the nocturnal part of the planet.

Like a WISPR in the wind

The WISPR camera was designed to image the Sun’s internal heliosphere (which extends far into space) in visible light, as well as to study the solar wind.

Using WISPR, the Parker solar probe found unexpected features both on and above the surface of Venus.
Credit: NASA / Johns Hopkins APL Naval Research Laboratory / Guillermo Stenborg / Brendan Gallagher