A never seen before side of Venus has been revealed in the new picture clicked by National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s mission (NASA) Parker Solar Probe. The magnificent photo clicked by the Wide-field Imager or WISPR shows the nightside of the planet.
Scientists at NASA expected the images to be of the thick clouds that usually obstruct the view of the Venusian surface, however, the photos clicked by WISPR in July 2020 surprised them as they showed a clear view of the surface.
As reported by The Verge, WISPR has been able to capture an elevated area of the planet called Aphrodite Terra. The report mentions that this area is about 85 degree Fahrenheit colder than the surrounding area.
Reacting to the latest pictures, Michael Buckley said in a NASA blog post that the WISPR team has come back to the lab to check the sensitivity of the imager to infrared light after the new picture of the Venusian surface has been captured. Michael is the communications manager at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory.
Speaking about their new find, Brian Wood said in a NASA statement that the imager has been able to capture the thermal emissions of the planet.
He added that previously, a Japanese Venus probe had captured similar images. The Japanese imager has the ability to capture light at infrared wavelengths. Brian, a WISPR scientist and astrophysicist, works at the US Naval Research Laboratory.
The image of Venus’ surface was clicked while Parker Solar Probe was studying the sun. It uses the gravity of Venus in order to get closer to the star and has been able to become the human-made object that has gone closest to the sun. During the exercise of getting closer to the star, the object passes by Venus, giving it the opportunity to capture pictures of its surface.
Parker Solar Probe was launched in 2018 and will continue probing the sun till 2025. In its seven-year-journey, the aircraft is expected to observe the outer corona of the sun.