After acquiring hundreds of high-resolution images during close approach to Venus, MESSENGER turned its wide-angle camera back to the planet and acquired a departure sequence.
These images provide a spectacular goodbye to the cloud-shrouded planet while also providing valuable data to the camera calibration team. MESSENGER was 60,688 kilometers (37,710 miles) from the planet at the start of the sequence and 89,310 kilometers (55,495 miles) at the end.
Initially, images were acquired at a rate of one of every 20 minutes, and then as Venus shrank the timing interval was increased to 60 minutes.
The first image was taken June 6 at 12:58 UTC (8:58 p.m. EDT on June 5), and the final image on June 7 at 02:18 UTC (10:18 p.m. EDT on June 6). During this 25 hour, 20 minute period the spacecraft traveled 833,234 kilometers (517,748 miles-more than twice the distance from the Earth to the Moon) with respect to Venus at an average speed of 9.13 kilometers per second (5.67 miles per second).