March 24, 2023

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A NASA rover captures a rare sunset on Mars


March 8, 2023 | 12:36 p.m

Stunning images from NASA captured a sunset on Mars last month, marking the first time sunlight has been seen so clearly on the Red Planet.

NASA’s Curiosity Rover captured beams of light illuminating a swath of clouds during a gorgeous sunset on February 2 over Mars, According to NASA.

The “sunlight” captured in the image is known as auroral rays, a name derived from the Latin word for “twilight”.

Last month, NASA said, was the first time such rays were visible on Mars.

Curiosity’s latest image is based on its 2021 observations of noctilucent clouds, or nighttime brights.

Most Martian clouds hover no more than 37 miles above the surface of Mars and consist of water ice, but the clouds seen in the newer image appear to be positioned higher in the sky.

Last month was the first time such rays were clearly visible on Mars.

Clouds at higher elevations, where it is particularly cold, seem to indicate that these particular clouds are composed of dry ice.

NASA says it is examining the clouds on Mars to get a better sense of the composition and temperatures of the atmosphere, as well as the winds within it.

The 2021 cloud survey included imaging made by the rover’s black and white navigation cameras, which provide a detailed look at the cloud’s structure as it moves.

The “sunlight” captured in the image is known as auroral rays, a name derived from the Latin word for “afterglow”.

However, the latest cloud survey uses NASA’s Color Camera, or MastCam, which takes color photos and snapshots that can then be stitched together to create large panoramas of the landscape.

It could also help scientists see how cloud particles grow over time.

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The current NASA survey will be completed by mid-March.

Curiosity also captured footage of an iridescent feather-shaped cloud in January.

Curiosity also captured an image of colorful feather-shaped clouds on January 27.

According to NASA, some types of clouds can create a rainbow-like display called iridescence.

Both the sunshine image and the iridescent clouds were captured as panoramas, stitched together from 28 images sent back to Earth. Images have been processed to emphasize highlights.

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