Sun probe surprises NASA with incredible photo of Venus

Sun probe surprises NASA with incredible photo of Venus

A photo of the nightside of Venus taken by the Wide-field Imager on Parker Solar Probe. | NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Naval Research Laboratory/Guillermo Stenborg and Brendan Gallagher

The Parker Solar Probe, NASA’s closest eye on the Sun, was whizzing by Venus last summer for a gravity assist when it snapped a striking new image of the planet’s mysterious nightside, revealing a surprisingly clear view of the Venusian surface.

The spacecraft, launched in 2018, is in the midst of its seven-year journey to study the Sun from 4 million miles away, the closest any human-made object has gone before. To do this, Parker Solar Probe needs to use the gravity of Venus to help tighten its orbit around the Sun through a series of seven flybys, nudging itself closer to the star with each pass.

Those scenic passes are valuable opportunities to catch intriguing shots of Venus.

The image taken by Parker Solar Probe’s Wide-field…

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