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VIRTIS/Venus Express


 
CAAUL Researchers: David Luz, Pedro Machado, Pedro Sequeira
Work Group: Stars and Planets 

The underlying philosophy of Venus Express investigations is to observe the same target with different instruments at the same time. This provides a comprehensive, versatile and complete view of the different phenomena taking place on Venus (see http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Venus_Express/Penetrating_an_impenetrable_world).

CAAUL participates in the Venus Express mission’s VIRTIS team and in the worldwide network of ground-based support observers.
We characterize the atmospheric dynamics of Venus by determining the magnitude of the winds and by combining ground- and space-based observations and modeling techniques to understand its governing mechanisms and their couplings.

Our research focuses on the following topics:

  1. Measuring winds in the atmosphere of Venus with:
  • cloud-tracking, based on imaging data from the Venus Express VIRTIS instrument.
  • Doppler velocimetry based on solar reflected spectra
  1. Developing data-analysis procedures for the Doppler velocimetry and cloud tracking techniques.
  2. Characterizing atmospheric motions such as the southern polar vortex, gravity waves and solar tides in the Venus atmosphere
  3. Modeling the global atmospheric circulation in the atmosphere of Venus to characterize composition and dynamics.
 



Figure: The 'eyes' of Venus Express are extremely sensitive to a wide range of electromagnetic wavelengths, from ultraviolet to infrared. They will be able to dig down through the atmosphere by exploiting for the first time the so-called 'spectroscopic windows', discovered in the late 1980s thanks to ground observations. Credits:ESA


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