Perseverance strikes with a bright sunset photo on Mars

Celebrating its 842nd Martian day on the Red Planet, the Perseverance rover gave humanity another unforgettable moment – sunset on Mars. The landscape that opened up in front of Perseverance was incredibly picturesque.

Sunset on Mars. Photo: NASA

The golden Sun of Mars began to slowly fall below the horizon, painting the sky in all shades of red. But here’s the peculiarity – it is not the sunset that we are used to seeing on Earth. After sunset over Mars, the sky was filled with a cold blue color, creating a unique view impossible to see on our planet.

Such an amazing change of colors of the sky on Mars occurs due to the numerous physical features of this planet. Firstly, Mars is located further from the Sun compared to Earth, and therefore receives less sunlight. It also causes less illumination of Mars.

In addition, the atmosphere of Mars is more rarefied than that of Earth. Mars has only 1% of the Earth’s atmosphere, and this one consists mainly of carbon dioxide, with little nitrogen and almost no oxygen. This rarefaction of the atmosphere makes it less effective in scattering light.

For example, when the Sun’s light enters the Earth’s atmosphere, it interacts with various gases and particles of the atmosphere, which leads to the scattering of blue light in all directions. And thanks to this scattering, we see a blue sky during the day on Earth. On Mars, the situation is different. Sunlight interacts with a large amount of dust containing a lot of iron in the atmosphere of the planet. This dust scatters low-frequency red light, so the sky has red shades during the day.

The difference between Earth (left) and Mars (right) during sunset. Authorship: NASA/JPL-Caltech

But when dusk comes, the red light is filtered out, and the sky sparkles with a cold blue color. This specific phenomenon gives the sunset on Mars such an incredible and impressive appearance.

It should be noted that the photo of the sunset on Mars is not only an exciting moment for us, earthlings, but also an important source of information for scientists. Twilight on the planet provides an opportunity to study in detail the atmosphere and clouds that may contain dust and ice. Researchers can use these images to analyze the composition and structure of atmospheric phenomena, as well as to study changes in particle size in clouds.

For 20 years now, rovers such as Curiosity, Perseverance, Spirit and Opportunity have been recording these sunsets and giving us the opportunity to enjoy this unearthly beauty. And each new image remains a wonderful testimony to the unpredictable beauty and mystery of Mars, which is still a challenge for our understanding of this Red Planet.

Earlier we talked about twilight and white nights.

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