Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Sunsets on Mars

On Mars, the colors of the sunset are reversed from what we're used to seeing on Earth. 

Sunset at Gusev Crater: The Sun sinks below the horizon, 
as captured by NASA's Spirit Mars rover in 2005.

On Earth, we're accustomed to blue skies and warm colors around the sunset. But on Mars, the sky is warm colored, and the thin atmosphere is tinged blue around the setting sun. 
According to NASA
"Just as colors are made more dramatic in sunsets on Earth, Martian sunsets would appear bluish to human observers watching from the red planet. Fine dust makes the blue near the Sun's part of the sky much more prominent, while normal daylight makes the Red Planet's familiar rusty dust color more prominent.

"The colors come from the fact that the very fine dust is the right size so that blue light penetrates the atmosphere slightly more efficiently," said Mark Lemmon of Texas A&M University, College Station, a science team member of the Curiosity rover mission. "When the blue light scatters off the dust, it stays closer to the direction of the Sun than light of other colors does. The rest of the sky is yellow to orange, as yellow and red light scatter all over the sky instead of being absorbed or staying close to the Sun."


Jim Douglas said...

...and if you were on Tatooine, you would see a binary sunset. ;)

CerverGirl said...

Those Rover missions are amazing. But also makes me appreciate the lushness of Earth!