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Curiosity captured the first rays of the Sun on Mars

NASA’s Curiosity rover captured these “sunbeams” shining through clouds at sunset on Feb. 2, 2023, the 3730th Martian day of the mission. | Fountain: NASA/JPL-CALTECH/MSSS/ISS

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Rover curiosity belonging POT V Mars On February 2, 2023, the sun’s rays illuminate a bank of clouds as the “royal sun” sets over the horizon.

These “sun rays” are also known as twilight rays. It was the first time the sun’s rays were seen so clearly in Mars.

curiosity captured the scene during the rover’s latest twilight cloud study, which is based on his observations of noctilucent or nightglow clouds in 2021. While most Martian clouds are no more than 60 kilometers above the ground and are composed of water ice, the clouds in the latest images appear at high altitudes, where it is especially cold. This suggests that these clouds are composed of carbon dioxide or dry ice.

Watching the first rays of the sun

Just like on Earth, clouds provide scientists with complex but important information for understanding climate. By observing when and where clouds form, scientists can learn more about the composition and temperature of the Martian atmosphere, as well as the winds that blow through it.

Cloud Review 2021 included more images taken by black and white navigation cameras curiosity, which gave a detailed view of the structure of the cloud as it moved. But the recent study, which began in January and will conclude in mid-March, relies more on the rover’s Mastcam color camera, which helps scientists see how cloud particles grow over time.

In addition to the image of the sun’s rays, curiosity photographed a set of colored clouds in the form of feathers on January 27th. When illuminated by sunlight, some types of clouds can create an iridescent spectacle called iridescence.

“When we see iridescence, it means that the particle size of a cloud is identical to the size of its neighbors in each part of the cloud,” said Mark Lemmon, an atmospheric scientist at the Boulder Space Science Institute in Colorado. “Looking at the color transitions, we see that the particle size changes throughout the cloud. This tells us how the cloud develops and how its particles change size over time.”

curiosity he captured both sunbeams and iridescent clouds as panoramas, each composed of 28 images sent back to Earth. The images have been processed to bring out the highlights. (Europe Press)

Source: RPP

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