First light for the Venus Monitoring Camera
This image, taken by the Venus Monitoring Camera (VMC) during commissioning of the Venus Express instruments, shows Earth and Moon from 3.5 million kilometres away.
The exposure time was set to obtain a signal from the Moon in all four channels simultaneously. For this reason Earth is overexposed.
The value of such images to the scientific teams is that it allows them to test and calibrate their instruments before Venus approach.
VMC is a wide-angle multi-channel camera that will be able to take images of the planet in the near-infrared, ultraviolet and visible wavelengths. VMC will be able to make global images and will study the cloud dynamics and image the surface. In addition it will assist in the identification of phenomena seen by other instruments.
The VMC team is led by the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS), Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany.