On 9 August 2021, the ESA/NASA Solar Orbiter spacecraft passed within 7995 km of the surface of planet Venus during a gravity assist flyby. The Solar Orbiter Heliospheric Imager, SoloHI, captured this gleaming view of the planet in the days leading up to the approach.
The images show Venus approaching from the left while the Sun is off camera to the upper right. The planet’s nightside, the part hidden from the Sun, appears as a dark semicircle surrounded by a bright crescent of light – glare from Venus’ incredibly bright sunlit side.
Some bright stars are also visible in the sequence.