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Cloud Worlds: from Venus to Exoplanet

Project description

Taking a deeper look at Venusian clouds

Venus is a unique planet in the solar system – the clouds cover 100 % of the planet all of the time. This opaque layer of highly reflective clouds comprising sulfuric acid prevents its surface from being seen from Space in visible light. The EU-funded CLOUDWORLDS project will analyse Venus images and spectral observations from the ultraviolet to the near-infrared part of the electromagnetic spectrum to study cloud properties and composition, and the cloud radiative effect. The new techniques will also be used to study cloud formation and properties in extrasolar planets. Comparing results will help scientists better understand our neighbouring planet and shed light on other planets beyond our solar system with similar features.


Venus is a unique planet in the Solar System with its 100% cloud coverage. We propose to analyze Venus images and spectral observations from the ultraviolet to the near infrared spectral range, to understand the cloud properties and the radiative forcing by clouds in the atmosphere. The techniques we will develop can also be applied to exoplanet observations and modeling. Comparing with the Venus results will help to better understand clouds on exoplanets. We successfully acquired space and ground-based Venus data in 2017-2018 in collaborations with the Japanese Venus orbiter team and 15 other colleagues in Europe, Japan, and USA. Our analysis will use known methods, e.g. the dependence of aerosol scattering on the solar phase angle, a line-by-line radiative transfer model, and a one dimensional radiative-convective model. The proposed research will take place at the Technische Universität Berlin, Germany. Inside the host team, and under the supervision of host Prof. Rauer, the researcher will collaborate with Dr. García Muñoz on the phase angle dependence analysis, with Dr. Helbert to plan scientific observations of Venus with MERTIS at the time of the BepiColombo flyby in 2020, and with Dr. Kitzmann on climate modeling for early Venus. As the host team has strong background in exoplanet research and leads future exoplanet space missions, the researcher will receive training on the comparative analysis of Venus and exoplanets and climate modelling. The proposed study is very timely, considering the upcoming exoplanet missions CHEOPS and PLATO, as well as the proposed future Venus missions. The training and the proposed research will significantly strengthen the career of the researcher, and may help her secure participation in future exoplanet and Venus studies. The researcher will be trained by the host institute in quantitative skills, e.g. the project management and communications with public and students, enhancing the long-term career of the researcher.


Net EU contribution
€ 174 806,40
10623 Berlin

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Berlin Berlin Berlin
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 174 806,40