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Venus Monitoring Camera (VMC)

NSSDCA ID: 2005-045A-01

Mission Name: Venus Express
Principal Investigator:Dr. Wojciech J. Markiewicz


The Venus Monitoring Camera is designed primarily to study the clouds and atmosphere of Venus. It is a wide-angle camera that operates in the ultraviolet, visible, and near infrared. Its objectives are to perform support imaging for other instruments, facilitate the study of dynamic processes in the atmosphere of Venus, permit the study of the distribution of the unknown UV absorber at the cloud tops, monitor the ultraviolet and visible wavelength airglow and its variability as a dynamic tracer, and map the surface brightness distribution and search for volcanic activity.

The VMC is a single unit consisting of four different objective lens systems with different filters. Each system focusses on one quadrant of a common 1032 x 1024 pixel CCD. The systems also share a common readout electronics, digital processing unit, and power converter. The camera field of view is 17.5 degrees and the image scale is 0.74 milliradians per pixel. The spatial resolution will be 0.2 to 45 km depending on the distance from the planet.

All four optical systems have focal lengths of 13 mm. The first optical system has an F number of 5 and a filter with a center wavelength of 0.365 microns and a bandwidth of 0.04 microns. It is designed to study oxygen nightglow at 0.356 and 0.376 microns and UV absorbers on the dayside. The second system, with a center wavelength of 0.513 and a bandwidth of 0.05 is designed for visible light imaging. It has an F-number of 5. The third system, also with an F number of 5, has a center wavelength of 0.935 and a bandwidth of 0.07. It is designed for studying water at and below 70 km in the atmosphere. The fourth optical system is designed to study water, the clouds, and the surface of Venus. It has an F-number of 7, a center wavelength of 1.01, and a bandwidth of 0.02.

The VMC design is derived in part from the Mars Express High/Super Resolution Stereo Colour Imager (HRSC) and partly from the Rosetta Optical, Spectroscopic and Infrared Remote Imaging System (OSIRIS) design.

Alternate Names

  • VMC
  • VenusExpress/VMC


  • Planetary Science: Geology and Geophysics

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this experiment can be directed to: Dr. David R. Williams



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Dr. Wojciech J. MarkiewiczPrincipal
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