Infrared Remote Sounding of the Middle Atmosphere of Venus from the Pioneer Orbiter

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Science  23 Feb 1979:
Vol. 203, Issue 4382, pp. 779-781
DOI: 10.1126/science.203.4382.779


Orbiter infrared measurements of the Venus atmosphere in the 60- to 140-kilometer region show very small diurnal temperature differences near the cloud tops, increasing somewhat at higher levels. The seasonal (that is, equator to pole) contrasts are an order of magnitude larger, and the temperatures unexpectedly increase with increasing latitude below 80 kilometers. An isothermal layer at least two scale heights in vertical extent is found near the 100-kilometer altitude, where the temperature is about 175 K. Structure is present in the cloud temperature maps on a range of spatial scales. The most striking is at high latitude, where contrasts of nearly 50 K are observed between a cold circumpolar band and the region near the pole itself.