Perseverance Mars rover spies big sunspot rotating toward Earth (photos)

NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover has given us a sneak peek of an intriguing patch of the solar that is not but seen from Earth.

Perseverance pictures the solar day by day with its Mastcam-Z digicam system to gauge the quantity of mud within the Martian environment. Such an effort captured an enormous sunspot transferring throughout the photo voltaic disk late final week and over the weekend, as reported.

“As a result of Mars is orbiting over the far aspect of the solar, Perseverance can see approaching sunspots greater than every week earlier than we do,” wrote in a put up highlighting the sunspot images. “Think about this your one-week warning: A giant sunspot is coming.”

Associated: Perseverance rover captures beautiful video of photo voltaic eclipse on Mars

Image of the yellow solar disk against a black sky, captured from afar.

Picture of the yellow photo voltaic disk towards a black sky, captured from afar.

Sunspots are comparatively darkish and funky areas the place the solar’s magnetic discipline is especially robust.

These patches generally function launch pads for photo voltaic flares (outbursts of high-energy radiation) and coronal mass ejections (CMEs; large eruptions of photo voltaic plasma), which is why they’re also called “lively areas.”

Photo voltaic flares and CMEs that hit Earth can have an effect on satellite tv for pc navigation and disrupt energy grids, amongst different issues, so monitoring the motion of sunspots is extra than simply of educational curiosity.


— Area climate: What’s it and the way is it predicted?

— 12 superb images from the Perseverance rover’s 1st yr on Mars

— The worst photo voltaic storms in historical past

Sungazing is a sidelight for Perseverance, after all. The rover’s essential duties are attempting to find proof of life on Mars and gathering dozens of samples, which shall be returned to Earth someday within the subsequent decade by a joint NASA-European Area Company mission marketing campaign (supplied funding for the endeavor comes by way of).

Perseverance is exploring the ground of Mars’ Jezero Crater, which hosted an enormous lake and a river delta billions of years in the past. The car-sized rover landed contained in the 28-mile-wide (45 kilometers) crater in February 2021 together with the tiny Ingenuity helicopter.

Ingenuity was designed as a expertise demonstrator, however has surpassed expectations to grow to be one thing far more. It is now serving as a scout for the Perseverance staff and has a whopping 55 Purple Planet flights below its belt.


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