Radar Astronomy: Closeup of Venus

Though it is the brightest planet in the heavens, Venus has always been less than clear to astronomers. Wrapped in dense clouds of gases, the Venusian surface remains hidden even to the most powerful optical telescopes. Now, scientists are employing electronic means to explore the mysteries of the earth's sister planet. Using radio beams, Radar Astronomers Richard M. Goldstein and Shalhav Zohar of Caltech's Jet Pro pulsion Laboratory reported last week that they have mapped 160,000 sq. mi. of Venus, an area about equal to the size of the entire U.S. Northeast....