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Rare Plume on Mars

  1. Feb 16, 2015 #1


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    In the spring of 2012 amateur astronomers spotted a huge plume rising from the Marian surface and captured it on video. They’ve been seen in the past rising to an altitude of 100km, but this one rose to more than 250 km. A reflective cloud of water-ice? An auroral emission of some kind? Or could it be due to an impact?


    Mystery plume on Mars
    16 February 2015

    Plumes seen reaching high above the surface of Mars are causing a stir among scientists studying the atmosphere on the Red Planet.

    On two separate occasions in March and April 2012, amateur astronomers reported definite plume-like features developing on the planet.

    The plumes were seen rising to altitudes of over 250 km above the same region of Mars on both occasions. By comparison, similar features seen in the past have not exceeded 100 km.

    “At about 250 km, the division between the atmosphere and outer space is very thin, so the reported plumes are extremely unexpected,” says Agustin Sanchez-Lavega of the Universidad del País Vasco in Spain, lead author of the paper reporting the results in the journal Nature.

    Last edited: Feb 16, 2015
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  3. Feb 16, 2015 #2


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    cool .... wasn't aware of those ... thanks :)

  4. Feb 16, 2015 #3


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    Neat. Would like to see the followup when they get sat photos of the area.
  5. Mar 20, 2015 #4


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    Maybe highly energetic auroral activity on Mars is less rare than thought, though still quite puzzling. This Martian aurora is said to be many times brighter than Earthly aurorae. In 2001, Mars was entirely engulfed in a thick dust storm.




    A map of IUVS’s auroral detections in December 2014 overlaid on Mars’ surface. The map shows that the aurora was widespread in the northern hemisphere, not tied to any geographic location. The aurora was detected in all observations during a 5-day period. Image credit: University of Colorado.
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2015
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