Range : 60,000 miles These images are two versions of a near-infrafed map of lower-level clouds on the night side of Venus, obtained by the Near Infrared Mapping Spectrometer aboard the Galileo spacecraft.The map shows the turbulent, cloudy middle atmosphere some 30-33 miles above the surface, 6-10 miles below the visible cloudtops. The image to the left shows the radiant heat from the lower atmosphere (about 400 degrees F) ahining through the sulfuric acid clouds, which appear as much as 10 times darker than the bright gaps between clouds. This cloud layer is at about 170 degrees F, at a pressure about 1/2 Earth's atmospheric pressure. About 2/3 of the dark hemisphere is visible, centered on longitude 350 West, with bright slsivers of daylit high clouds visible at top and bottom left. The right image, a modified negative, represents what scientists believe would be the visual appearance of this mid-level cloud deck in daylight, with the clouds reflecting sunlight instead of clocking out infrared from the hot planet and lower atmosphere. Near the equator, the clouds appear fluffy and clocky; farther north, they are stretched out into East-West filaments by winds estimated at more than 150 mph, while the poles are capped by thick clouds at this altitude. The Near Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (NIMS) on the Galileo is a combined mapping (imaging) and spectral instrument. It can sense 408 contiguous wavelengths from 0.7 microns (deep red) to 5.2 microns, and can construct a map or image by mechanical scanning. It can spectroscopic-ally analyze atmospheres and surfaces and construct thermal and chemical maps.