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.

2002 March 12
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Atete Corona on Venus
Credit: Magellan Spacecraft Team, USGS, NASA

Explanation: What could cause a huge cylindrical mountain to rise from the surface of Venus? Such features that occur on Venus are known as coronas. Pictured above in the foreground is 500-kilometer wide Atete Corona found in a region of Venus known as the Galindo. The image was created by combining multiple radar maps of the region to form a computer-generated three-dimensional perspective. The series of dark rectangles that crosses the image from top to bottom were created by the imaging procedure and are not real. The origin of massive coronas remains a mystery although speculation holds they result from some form of volcanism. Studying Venusian coronas help scientists better understand the inner structure of both Venus and Earth.

Tomorrow's picture: nebular navigation

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
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& Michigan Tech. U.