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 30
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

Venus Unveiled
Credit: Magellan Project, JPL, NASA

Explanation: The surface of Venus is perpetually covered by a veil of thick clouds and remains hidden from even the powerful telescopic eyes of earth-bound astronomers. But in the early 1990s, using imaging radar, the Venus orbiting Magellan spacecraft was able to lift the veil from the face of Venus and produced spectacular high resolution images of the planet's surface. Colors used in this computer generated picture of Magellan radar data are based on color images from the surface of Venus transmitted by the Soviet Venera 13 and 14 landers. The bright area running roughly across the middle represents the largest highland region of Venus known as Aphrodite Terra.

Tomorrow's picture: Supernova

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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.