Over the past two weekends the JCMT has been open and observing during the day. These daytime observations are needed to observe the middle atmosphere (altitude 70-110 km) of Venus.
The aim is to better understand atmospheric physics and chemistry. The way to advance understanding of fundamental atmospheric physics and chemistry in general is to study the atmospheres of individual planets – specifically in this case Venus!
The JCMT is used for this study because sub-millimeter spectroscopy is uniquely powerful for investigations of this altitude range on Venus. JCMT’s location on Maunakea, its ability to safely point arbitrarily close to the sun, and its observation flexibility (capability to modify observing strategies in as little as 5 minutes, during the observations) make it uniquely well-suited to Venus research.