Astronomy Picture of the Day
March 24, 2013

Features of Southern Navka Region
Features of Southern Navka Region

Credits: NASA/JPL - Magellan Project - Credits for the additional process. and color.: Dr Paolo C. Fienga/Lunar Explorer Italia/IPF

This NASA - Magellan Spacecraft Synthetic Aperture Radar (or SAR) image showing the Southern Portion of the Venusian Region known as Navka (and located from 24,4° to 25,3° South Latitude and from 338,5° to 340,5° East Longitude) is the final results of a mosaic of many radar-pictures taken by Magellan during twelve different orbits; the mosaic covers approx. 180 Km (such as about 111,78 miles) in width and approx. 78 Km (such as about 48,43 miles) in length.

In the center of this image there are two Bright Deposits running North to South. These Deposits outline an Outflow Channel which comes from a 60-Km diameter Impact Crater that is found to the South of the Channel itself. Inside the Outflow Channel and outlined by some kind of "bathtub ring-shaped" Deposits, there are small Cones, most likely of Volcanic origin. At the end of the Outflow Channel, where one would expect to find the smallest Particles to be deposited, we can see, instead, Specular Surface Features which may represent Sand Dunes (in fact, even the Seasat and the Space Shuttle Radar Images of Sand Dunes located on Earth show Specular Reflections deriving from the smooth Dune Faces which are near-normal to the radar beam).

Other evidence for Aeolian Activity on Venus are the extremely long, dark and bright Windstreaks running East to West and that formed behind the Cones. Just out of curiosity, you may notice how the Wind Direction changes from a South/East-North/West Flow (at the right of the image) to an East-West Flow (at the Eastern Edge of the Outflow Channel).

This frame (which is an Original NASA - Magellan Spacecraft Radio-Image published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the n. PIA 00483), since it is just a Radio-Image of the Venusian Surface and NOT a real view of it, has been colorized, according to an educated guess carried out by Dr Paolo C. Fienga (LXTT-IPF), in what they could reasonably be its possible Absolute Natural Colors (such as the colors that a human eye would perceive if someone were onboard the NASA - Magellan Spacecraft and, once the thick layer of Venusian Clouds and Fogs is completely overcome, looked down, towards the Surface of Venus itself), by using an original technique created - and, in time, dramatically improved - by the Lunar Explorer Italia Team.

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