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Venus Express Science Working Team #13

Rome, 12 - 13 November 2008

Conference Hall - INAF - IASF - Rome
Via Fosso del Cavaliere 100, Rome, Italy


Key molecule discovered in Venus’s atmosphere

15 May 2008. Venus Express has detected the molecule hydroxyl on another planet for the first time. This detection gives scientists an important new tool to unlock the workings of Venus’s dense atmosphere. -->





2009 Anno Internazionale dell'Astronomia

L’Anno Internazionale dell’Astronomia (International Year of Astronomy - IYA2009) è promosso dall’ Unione Astronomica Internazionale (IAU) e dall’UNESCO con il tema “L’Universo, a voi scoprirlo” e cade nel quattrocentesimo anniversario della prima osservazione al telescopio di Galileo Galilei. Sarà una celebrazione globale dell’astronomia e dei suoi contributi alla società e alla cultura, con una forte enfasi sull’educazione, la partecipazione del pubblico e il coinvolgimento dei giovani, attraverso eventi che si svolgeranno su scala locale, nazionale e internazionale, lungo tutto l’arco dell’anno 2009.

The puzzling 'eye of a hurricane' on Venus

13 March 2008. Venus Express has constantly been observing the south pole of Venus and has found it to be surprisingly fickle. An enormous structure with a central part that looks like the eye of a hurricane, morphs and changes shape within a matter of days, leaving scientists puzzled.
© European Space Agency.    -->

Venus Express seeks out gases below the clouds

4 February 2008. ESA’s Venus Express has recently ‘peeled back’ the thick clouds around Venus to provide the most accurate and wide-ranging map of water vapour and other gases in the lower atmosphere to date.    -->

VIRTIS Observations of Venus' Lower Atmosphere

4 February 2008.  Tthe VIRTIS instrument has gathered numerous high-resolution spectra of Venus' atmosphere in the wavelength range 2-5 micron. Taking advantage of a broad spectral window around 2.3 micron, the data has allowed for mapping of minor constituents in the deep atmosphere below the planet's thick cloud deck.    -->

IASF Roma - VISITING COMMITTEE 26th/27th November 2007

Documents presented on 26th and 27th of November during the Visiting Committee. -->

Nature. Web focus on Venus Express

The latest results from the mission were presented at a press conference held at ESA headquarters in Paris, and will appear in the 29 November issue of the scientific journal Nature.  


Venus: Earth’s twin planet?

28 November 2007. ESA’s Venus Express has revealed Venus as never before. For the first time, scientists are able to investigate from the top of its atmosphere, down nearly to the surface. They have shown it to be a planet of surprises that may once have been more Earth-like, and still is, to a certain extent. -->

An image of the sky region near the Galactic Center, projected on one of the two SuperAGILE coordinates. Abscissa is in degrees, off-set with respect to the SuperAGILE boresight (l=337, b=8).
This 3.5-day observation was performed on September 2007.



VIMS-V, the italian made visible channel of the VIMS experiment aboard Cassini mission, reaches this week the 10th year of operations in space. This instrument is the first non-USA imaging experiment to have passed beyond Mars's orbit to explore the outer regions of the solar system. It was built by Officine Galileo (now Galileo Avionica) under ASI contract and with the scientific supervision of INAF-IASF and IFSI researchers (PI A. Coradini). The imaging spectrometer is able to collect hyperspectral data in the 0.35-1.05 micron spectral range in 96 bands and with a resolution of 7.3 nm/band; spatial resolution is equal to 500 microrads/pixel (166 microrads/pixel in high resolution mode). From launch up to today VIMS collected more than 90.000 hyperspectral cubes corresponding to more than 300.000.000 spectra; of these about 37.000 cubes were acquired during the 7 years long cruise phase (Earth's Moon, Venus, Jupiter system, stars) and the remaining 53.000 during main mission at Saturn. The principal scientific objectives of the experiment are shown in true colors (RGB channels) in the image. Saturn atmosphere with the never seen before rings blue shadows and polar vortex in the upper row; the inner icy satellites Mimas, Enceladus, Tethys, Dione and Rhea in the central row; Titan atmosphere (up image) and surface seen through hazes (bottom image), Hyperion, Iapetus and Phoebe in the bottom row (images are not in scale). In the background are shown the main rings as seen in reflectance (from left to right A ring, Cassini division, B and C rings).

JPL release -->


VIMS is an imaging spectrometer that flies on board the Cassini spacecraft (a NASA/ESA/ASI mission). VIMS is an experiment by JPL (VIMS IR), ASI (VIMS V), IASF/INAF and IAS-Orsay (for the main electronics).

The scientific program is mainly focused on Saturn and Titan atmospheres, observation of Titan surface through narrow spectral window in the NIR, and identification of surface composition of small satellites, rings, and asteroids observed during the cruise phase.


ESA's INTErnational Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory is the most sensitive gamma-ray observatory ever launched.

INTEGRAL is an ESA mission in cooperation with Russia and the United States.


VIRTIS is an imaging spectrometer onboard of the Rosetta spacecraft. VIRTIS was being built by INAF, Galileo Avionica, DLR and Observatorie de Paris.

It combines three data channels in one compact instrument. Two of them are devoted to spectral mapping (Mapper optical subsystem: -M), the third channel is devoted to spectroscopy (High resolution optical subsystem:-H).

Venus Express Virtis

VIRTIS (Visible and Infrared Thermal Imaging Spectrometer) is a complex instrument initially devoted to the remote sensing study of comet Wirtanen on the Rosetta mission, at wavelengths between 0.3 and 5 mm.

The focal planes, with state of the art CCD and infrared detectors achieve high sensitivity for low emissivity sources. Due to the high flexibility of operational modes of VIRTIS, these performances are also ideally adapted for the study of Venus atmosphere, both on night and day side.


AGILE is a space Scientific Mission devoted to gamma-ray astrophysics supported by the Italian Space Agency (ASI), with scientific participation of the Italian Institute of Astrophysics (INAF) and the Italian Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN).


SMART-1 is the first of ESA's Small Missions for Advanced Research in Technology thought with the purpouse of testing new technologies that will eventually be used on bigger projects.

Among SMART-1 on-board instruments there is the AMIE camera. AMIE (Advanced Moon micro-Imager Experiment) is an ultracompact electronic camera that will survey the terrain using visible and near-infrared light.

Dawn Mission VIR Instrument

is a NASA mission that will be launched in 2006. 

The VIR Spectrometer (Visual and Infrared Spectrometer) is an instrument by the italian that will fly on it. Dawn will be launched to study two asteroids, Vesta and Ceres.

GRI Gamma Ray Imager

The Gamma-Ray Imager is an initiative of the European Gamma-Ray Community aiming in the definition of the next European Gamma-Ray mission within ESA's Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 program.


Edge is a space mission under study aimed to address fundamental questions on the evolution of the Universe from the dark era to the present age and its violent manifestations of phenomena in extreme conditions.

Via del Fosso del Cavaliere 100
00133 Roma