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Double Venus flyby on 9 and 10 August


junocam junocam Solar Orbiter (ESA) and BepiColombo (ESA/JAXA) will make two Venus flybys on 9 and 10 August obtaining observations of Venus from multiple points in their approach to the planet. Venus will also be observed by the Akatsuki orbiter (JAXA) and ground-based observatories. The closest approaches to Venus from these missions will be:

Solar Orbiter – closest approach ~7995 km at 04:42 UTC on 9 Aug
BepiColombo - closest approach ~550 km at 13:48 UTC on 10 Aug

Coverage of these two flybys will be through social media from ESA on Twitter: @Esaoperations @ESAsolarorbiter, @bepicolombo, @ESA_Bepi, @ESA_MTM and the first images of the flybys are expected to be released soon.

Amateur images of Venus through August to the maximum elongation of the planet are desired to maximize the return of these two flybys. You can check recent images of Venus in PVOL with noticeable cloud details on images by Luigi Morrone and Joaquín Camarena.

The figure on the right sketches the observing conditions of Venus from January 2020 to January 2022 with dates of the recent flybys by the Parker Solar Probe (11 July 2020), BepiColombo (15 October 2020) and the upcoming (9-10 August) Solar Orbiter and BepiColombo flybys. Although these flybys occur when Venus has a low elevation on the sky from most locations, Venus elongation continues to raise with maximum elongation close to 1 November 2021 favoring observers in the South hemisphere.

More information:

  • https://www.esa.int/Science_Exploration/Space_Science/ESA_gets_ready_for_double_Venus_flyby
  • http://pvol2.ehu.eus/bc/Venus/