Archive for the ‘MAVEN’ Tag

Wolfie Chew-Sticks! You Turned the Air BLUE!!!!   35 comments

Interstellar Tourist Alert! Blue Auroras on Mars!

Don’t Miss This Fantastic Opportunity to see “The Southern Lights” of Mars!

Mars blue aurora wolf_Image credits (background): NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS and CSW/DB.

Theoretically it should be impossible for Mars to experience auroras as unlike Earth it no longer has a global magnetic field. On Mars it ceased to exist 3.5 billion years ago. However, in the main in the Southern hemisphere an assortment of “increased magnetic fields” have survived in the surface. These are known as “crustal magnetic anomalies,” and it would seem that these are capable of sparking auroras.

Auroral Glowing Blue Sky_

Sunrise/Sunset Auroras lighting the Wolves of MarsAurora’s appear on a relatively frequent basis after periods of intense solar flare-ups during the life of a solar cycle which on Mars causes  a beautiful, glowing blue sky.  For the intrepid interstellar tourist chasing the Martian lights jumping out of bed bright and early is recommended as they are best caught just before sunrise.

Alternatively for the lazy, late-rising tourist who probably prefers a Martian cocktail on the blue-soaked beaches whilst lounging in a deck chair watching the sun go down, just after sunset is the ideal time to catch the spectacular Martian lights.

  •   On Mars, aurorae also occur in the visible range.
  •   Carbon dioxide in Mars’s atmosphere means skies glow intense deep blue.Southern Skies glow an intense deep blue

Mars’s atmosphere consists mainly of nitrogen and carbon dioxide. Consequently the southern skies glow an intense deep blue. On Earth the oxygenated atmosphere causes auroras in shades of red and green – the Northern Lights. It is still possible to see such colours, though in far more subdued tones, on Mars too.

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The research also hopes to help us understand:

  •   More about the atmospheres of other planets and their emissions, and also that of Earth.
  •   The evolution of the Martian atmosphere
  •   Difference in mass between Mars and Earth
  •   Assisting in the ultimate discovery of habitable new worlds

Blue aurorae in Mars’ sky visible to the naked eye_Background Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS and CSW/DBBrave new worlds millions of miles from home

”Prime view of the aurora may seem trivial. And yet, on cold, barren planet millions of miles away, one beautiful reminder of home could make a world’s difference.” (Quote Credit: motherboard.vice.com)

Sources:

The Sky at Night
NASA.gov
Motherboard.vice.com
Astronomy Now.com
Washington Post