Middle Infrared Thermal Maps of Venus at the Time of the Galileo Encounter

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Science  27 Sep 1991:
Vol. 253, Issue 5027, pp. 1536-1538
DOI: 10.1126/science.253.5027.1536


Images of the disk of Venus, taken at wavelengths between 8 and 22 micrometers, were obtained a few days after the Galileo spacecraft's closest approach on 8 February 1990; these images show variations in the thickness of the main H2SO4 cloud deck and the overlying temperature structure. Several features are qualitatively similar to those of earlier observations, such as a hot region at the south pole, surrounded by a cold ``collar,'' and brightening toward the lower latitudes, where low-contrast banding appears. The collar does have a northern counterpart that is warmer, however. Equatorial limb darkening is quantitatively similar to that of previous observations; fairly constant at wavelengths up to 20 micrometers, where limb darkening increases substantially. In contrast to what was found in previous observations, polar and equatorial limb darkening are nearly the same at most wavelengths. A longitudinal variation is observable that is consistent with a wavenumber-2 behavior and a brightness maximum near local midnight.