ESA / INAF-IASF, ROME, ITALY, AND OBSERVATOIRE DE PARIS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ESA / INAF-IASF, ROME, ITALY, AND OBSERVATOIRE DE PARIS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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Venus' south pole. Coloured composite image of the day side (left) and night side (right) of Venus' southern hemisphere. Spiral clouds can be seen in the planet's lower atmosphere. Dark regions are thick cloud cover, while brighter regions are thinner cloud cover. The dark vortex over the south pole corresponds to a similar cloud structure over the north pole. Image taken on 12 April 2006 at a distance of 206,452 kilometres by the visible and infrared thermal imaging spectrometer (VIRTIS) onboard the Venus Express spacecraft. Venus Express was launched in November 2005 to study Venus' atmosphere.
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