Credit: NASA/MPE/K.Dennerl et al.
First X-ray Image of Venus
The image above shows the first ever X-ray
image of the planet Venus, obtained by the Chandra X-ray observatory's ACIS
camera. The X-rays which Chandra sees are produced by the interaction of
solar X-rays with gases in the upper Venusian atmosphere. Because they are
formed in the upper atmosphere, the X-rays don't allow us to peer beneath
the thick veil of Venus' atmosphere, but they do help astronomers
understand the interaction of the planetary atmospher with the solar wind
and solar radiation. This X-ray observation was actually a difficult,
dangerous observation for other X-ray observatories to make - Venus is so
close to the sun that solar X-rays could damage the detector, and in
addition the bright sun kept startrackers from other observatories from
locking onto Venus for long enough to obtain an image.
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Page Author: Dr. Michael F.
Last modified December 1, 2001