Images and topographic relief at the North Pole of Venus


  • Franz W. Leberl,

  • Kelly E. Maurice,

  • John K. Thomas,

  • Craig E. Leff,

  • Stephen D. Wall


We report on the analysis of unique coverage of the north pole of Venus using a subset of 13 images from a total of about 775 synthetic aperture radar orbits during cycle 1 of the Magellan mission. We present images at 13 distinctly different azimuths that range over 360° in longitude and that show the topographic relief at vastly different imaging geometries at intervals of about 20°. A pair of intersecting or crossing orbits is used to assess the topographic relief with stereo radargrammetric techniques, and to refine this assessment using a multi-image clinometric approach. We show that the pole is located in accentuated topography with elevation differences in the range of no more than 1 km. We conclude that pinpointing the location of the pole from the overlapping images and standard mission data is accurate to within about 100 pixels or 8 km (RMS).