Planetary Atmospheres Group

2014 - 2016

EuroVenus stands for European Unified Research on Observations of Venus using coordinated Space- and Earth-based Facilities. It is a project funded by the EU within the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development, EU's main instrument for funding research in Europe.

Venus is Earth's closest sibling, but it has ended up with a radically different climate. Venus atmospheric science is thus increasingly important in an era in which we are trying to understand the divergent evolutionary outcomes for terrestrial planets, whether we are considering the future of our Earth or the habitability in other solar systems.

The goal of this proposal is to investigate in detail the dynamics and composition of the middle and lower atmosphere of Venus by combining data from Venus Express instruments (VIRTIS, VMC, SOIR) with simultaneous data acquired from several ground-based telescope facilities during the course of ESA's Venus Express mission.

We will perform coordinated observations to provide a detailed analysis of dynamical and chemical couplings between different levels of the atmosphere that are probed simultaneously by different instruments.

The IASB-BIRA contribution to EuroVenus occurs through the SOIR channel of the SPICAV instrument on-board Venus Express. The temperature structure of the upper atmosphere and the light absorption due to aerosols in the mesosphere derived from SOIR data at terminator will help resolving the latitudinal dependency of the aureole observed with a set of coronagraphs during the Venus transit in June 2012.

In addition, this project gives access to a platform of complementary ground-based observations and of data from other Venus Express instruments for cross-validating SOIR vertical profiles of temperature, aerosols and minor constituents.

Venus & SOIR/VEx Workshop

September 2016 - In collaboration with our Japanese colleagues of Tohoku University, the SOIR team organized a Venus & SOIR Workshop in Tokyo during three days (26-29 Sept. 2016).

The Venus and SOIR workshop took place at the Rikkyo University (3-34-1 Nishi-Ikebukuro,Toshima-ku, Tokyo Japan 171-8501;, hosted by Dr. Taguchi (Rikkyo Univ.) and organized by Dr. H. Nakagawa (Tohoku Univ.). A WEBEX session was set up through the IASB-BIRA account to allow external participants to follow the Workshop and the discussions. Around 20 persons followed the Workshop and the discussions.

The agenda of the three days was the following:

Monday, 26 Sep

      • 09:00 Welcome, Overview
      A.Mahieux & A.C.Vandaele
      • 09:15 SOIR general description
      • 12:15 lunch
      • 13:15 SOIR archive description
      • 14:00 Spectral database use
      • 15:00 break
      • 15:15 Exercises using the SOIR Matlab tools
      • 19:00 end

Tuesday, 27 Sep

      A.Mahieux & A.C.Vandaele
      • 09:00 Exercises using the SOIR Matlab took II
      • 10:00 SOIR atmospheric database
      • 11:00 Exercise using the SOIR atmospheric database
      • 12:00 lunch
      • 13:00 Exercise using the SOIR atmospheric database II
      • 15:00 break
      • 15:15 Open Discussion for ground-based observation
      • Coordinated support campaign for Akatsuki SC [J.Peralta/Y.J.Lee]
      • Submm/mm observations [H.Sagawa/H.Maezawa]
      • IR hetero observations [K.Takami/H.Nakagawa]
      • Clear-up the capability, physical parameters, performance [All]
      • What collaborations/studies can be possible [All]

Wednesday, 28 Sep

      • 09:00 Exploration of planetary atmospheres: from SOIR/VEx to NOMAD/ExoMars
      All [H.Nakagawa to lead]
      • 10:00 Open Discussion for future Mars Mission
      • 12:00 close

All files relative to the SOIR instrument, i.e. the different presentations describing the instrument, its chaaracteristics and functioning, the description of several tools delivered by the SOIR team to the community, but also the MATLAB macros, can be downloaded on this SOIR page dedicated to the Data Workshop.


EuroVenus documentary

August 2016 - From 2013 - 2016, the EuroVenus consortium united dozens of researchers from across Europe in research of the planet Venus, using observations from the Venus Express satellite, but also from a range of telescopes around the world.

A documentary has been made and follows some of the work done by the consortium, in their home institutions and at various observatories. This 52-minute film documents EuroVenus investigations of temperature, wind, volcanic gases and the Venus transit.



Presentations and posters at EPSC

Oct 2015 - BISA scientists involved in the EuroVenus project presented their results at the EPSC conference held in Nantes (France) 27 sept. -2 oct. (2015).

  • (oral) A compilation of all CO observations performed by SOIR during the Venus Express mission - A. C. Vandaele, A. Mahieux, S. Chamberlain, B. Ristic, S. Robert, I.R. Thomas, L. Trompet, V. Wilquet, and J.-L. Bertaux
  • The vertical density profile of the mesosphere of Venus by independent measurements from SPICAV/SOIR and aureole photometry - C. Père, P. Tanga, T. Widemann, A. Mahieux, V. Wilquet, and A.C. Vandaele
  • Studying the Venus terminator thermal structure observed by SOIR/VEx with a 1D radiative transfer model - A. Mahieux, J. T. Erwin, S. Chamberlain, S. Robert, I. Thomas, A. C. Vandaele, L. Trompet, V. Wilquet, and R. V. Yelle
  • (oral) The clouds of Venus - an overview of Venus Express results - C. F. Wilson, E. Marcq, W.J. Markiewicz, F. Montmessin, A. Fedorova, V. Wilquet, E.V. Petrova, N.I. Ignatiev, O.S. Shalygina, A.E. Maattanen, K.M. McGouldrick, G.L. Hashimoto, T. Imamura, L. Rossi, M. Luginin, J. Oschlisniok, R. Haus, C.D. Parkinson, D.V. Titov, L.W. Esposito, S.S. Limaye, A.C. Vandaele, and L.V. Zasova
  • Sulfur Dioxide variability in the Venus Atmosphere - A. C. Vandaele, O. Korablev, A. Mahieux, V. Wilquet, S. Chamberlain, D. Belayev, Th. Encrenaz, L. Esposito, K.L. Jessup, F. Lefèvre, S. Limaye, E. Marcq, F. Mils, C. Parkinson, B. Sandor, A. Stolzenbach, and C. Wilson
  • Improved Knowlegde of Venus Atmospheric Structure - S.S. Limaye and the ISSI International Team for Venus Atmospheric Structure Team

Scientific Meeting in Nice, April 7-8

8 April 2014 - Scientists involved in the EuroVenus project met in Nice for two intensive days of presentations and discussions. Sarah Camberlain, Valérie Wilquet and Ann Carine Vandaele presented the activities carried out within EuroVenus at IASB-BIRA.

  • Temperature and density obtained from the SOIR/VEx instrument;
  • Trace gase measurements: CO, HCl, and SO2. Discussion on the detectability of such trace gases when the atmospheric densities are so low that they reach the detection limit of the instrument;
  • Report on the "VEx Temperature Workshop" that was held in Brussels in February on how to combine and compare the different temperatures observations performed by VEx instruments. The ultimate goal being to produce inputs for the VIRA next generation
  • Presentation of Sarah who introduced her previous research and the expertise she brings to the project.

Tuesday afternoon we went to the Observatoire de Nice for a visit. We sadly had no chance with the weather: rain and clouds prevented us to see the city and the coast.



Arnaud Mahieux reports on his ground-based observations of Venus !

01 March 2014 - Arnaud Mahieux went to Kitt Peak to observe the Ison comet and Venus. He was invited by Dr. M. Sornig, also a member of the EuroVenus consortium. Arnaud wrote his story for Ciel et Terre, the Bulletin of the Société Royale Belge d'Astronomie, de Météorologie et de Physique du Globe.

Complete article (in French)


Kick-off meeting

18 October 2013 - The kick-off meeting of the EuroVenus Project was held at the Observatoire de Paris (Paris, France) on the 18th of October. Representatives of each partner were present and presented short talks describing their intitute and the tasks in which they are involved.

More details on website of Observatoire de Paris


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