NASA’s Parker Solar Probe shocks researchers with a wild picture of Venus

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, a diminutive spacecraft intended to “touch the sun,” grabbed wild new pictures of the hellacious planet Venus in a new flyby, astounding researchers and offering new opportunities for science.

While flying past Venus, the probe captured photographs of a bright rim of light around the planet, NASA said Wednesday. Analysts said this rim is night glow, or, “light emitted by oxygen atoms high in the atmosphere that recombine into molecules in the nightside.”

The picture, captured by the Wide-field Imager for Parker Solar Probe (WISPR), additionally show’s Venus’ greatest highland region, a spot called Aphrodite Terra. In the picture over, it’s the dark section in the middle.

“WISPR is custom-made and tried for noticeable light perceptions. We expected to see mists, however the camera looked directly through to the surface,” said Angelos Vourlidas, WISPR project researcher from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. This could imply that WISPR is capable of capturing close to infrared light. The group is contemplating whether it tends to be utilized to study dust around the sun, yet within the inner solar system.

The Parker Solar Probe is on a seven-year mission to study solar wind, however utilizes Venus’ gravity to get nearer to the sun. The probe is the fastest human-made object and nearest object to the sun we’ve at any point developed and it uses the Venus flybys to speed up and tighten its orbit.

The keep going flyby happened on Feb. 20, 2021, which will help the probe’s speed increment to 147 kilometers each second. That implies it could get from Yankee Stadium in New York to Philadelphia in the blink of an eye.