Earth-Moon observations from Venus Express
A recent check of the VIRTIS imaging spectrometer during the Venus Express commissioning phase has allowed its first remote-sensing data to be acquired, using Earth and the Moon as a reference.
After a successful in-flight checkout of the spacecrafts systems in the first ten days of flight, the ESOC operations team is now verifying the health and functioning of all the Venus Express instruments. These observations were made as part of this checkout.
Of course the very large distance that Venus Express has travelled since its launch makes these images of limited interest to the general public, but to the scientific team it confirms the excellent operation of their instrument.
This gives them confidence of spectacular results when the spacecraft reaches Venus where similar measurements will be made hundreds times closer.
Only two weeks after the launch, VIRTIS, the Ultraviolet/Visible/Near-Infrared mapping spectrometer, has been able to make its first planetary observations, capturing the Earth-Moon system.
”The observations were made from 3.5 million kilometres away, with a phase angle of 65 degrees, meaning that 65% of Earth’s disk was illuminated by the Sun, providing observations of both the day and night sides of Earth,” explains Guiseppe Piccioni, one of the two Principal Investigators (PI).
“A comparison of Venus spectra with Earth spectra with the same instrument will also be of interest for textbook illustration of the comparison between the two planets,” explained Pierre Drossart, the other PI.
The Moon has also been observed, providing additional observations of particular interest for calibrating the intrument.
The VIRTIS instrument on Venus Express is a twin of the same instrument on Rosetta, and similar observations were sent back by Rosetta in March 2005, so comparisons of the two sets of observations will be very useful for calibration purposes.
The VIRTIS instrument is led jointly by INAF-IASF, Rome, Italy, and Observatoire de Paris, France.
Dan McCoy | EurekAlert!
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.
We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...
So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.
Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...