NASA's SDO Spots Venus' Aureole

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As discussed in Monday’s Discovery News article “Taking Venus’ Temperature During Transit,” I outlined some fascinating science that can be done during the Venus transit. As recorded in previous transits, the enigmatic “aureole” can be used to measure the temperature of Venus’ upper atmosphere.

And with the help of the high-definition eyes of NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), the Venus aureole has been detected again.

ANALYSIS: The Transit of Venus: A Personal View

Just as Venus sank into the sun’s limb at “ingress” of the transit, sunlight was refracted around the planet’s atmosphere — producing a fleeting crescent — providing the perfect opportunity for the SDO to record a video of the aureole evolve.

There’s little doubt that these observations will prove invaluable to scientists, but for now it’s nice to just sit back and enjoy the movie:

Credit: NASA/SDO/HMI/Stanford Univ. Jesper Schou