Venus - Akatsuki
Venus as seen by Japan's Akatsuki space probe on September 5, 2016. At the time this photo was taken, Akatsuki was located approximately 60,000 km above the Venusian cloud tops.
This image was assembled using near-UV and near-IR photos to create a pseudo-true color view. My procedure for creating this image exaggerates the coloration and detail visible in the clouds, which show very little detail in the visible portion of the spectrum.
This photo has been further enhanced by showing the cloud patterns on the night side using an infrared image at 2.26 μm. This portion of the image uses a relative colormap to highlight some of the variation present.
At 2.26μm, Venus' clouds are partially transparent, allowing heat from the lower portions of the atmosphere to radiate into space. Dark regions in this part of the image are, in effect, shadows of clouds in the upper atmosphere near the same level as the visible clouds.
Image Credit: JAXA / ISAS / DARTS / Justin Cowart