Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2001 May 7
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download 
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One Hundred-Kilometer Terrain on Venus
Credit: Magellan Spacecraft, USGS, NASA

Explanation: Even the hot and cracked surface of Venus has rolling hills. Although never actually photographed from up-close, images of the Venusian surface like that shown above have been constructed in recent years by digitally merging distant photographs from height-sensitive radar. Isolated above is a 100-kilometer wide swath inside a volcanic region known as Yavine Corona. Visible in the frame are numerous fractures in the surface. Data is missing from the dark lane on the upper right. The surface of Venus is so hot and oppressive that robot spacecraft landed there have lasted for only a few hours.

Tomorrow's picture: Flickering Vortex

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.