Why are some sunsets on Mars blue?

Since Viking 1 landed on Mars in 1976, rovers have captured and shared photos from the pink planet, together with views of sunrises and sunsets. The Perseverance rover just lately shared a picture of a blue-hued sundown on Mars, not like those that we normally see on the earth. We check out what causes this. 

The ambiance on Mars is essentially composed of carbon dioxide, with a really small share of nitrogen and solely hint quantities of oxygen. Mud particles are additionally an ample part of the Martian ambiance. These particles are why sunsets seem blue on Mars’s floor. 

The solar emits electromagnetic radiation in a spread, from high-frequency gamma rays to low-frequency radio waves, and consists of the seen spectrum in between. However which colors are seen to human eyes is determined by the medium by means of which gentle passes and the way it interacts with the constituents of the medium – which may soak up, replicate or scatter totally different wavelengths. 

To an individual standing on the Martian floor and taking a look at a sundown, gentle from the solar has to journey by means of extra of the planet’s ambiance than if the solar is instantly above the individual. And there’s a peculiar results of this longer journey by means of the Martian air. Within the phrases of Mark Lemmon, writing as a member of the Mars Pathfinder imaging crew: 

“The blue color close to the solar will not be attributable to clouds of water ice, however by the Martian mud itself. The mud within the ambiance absorbs blue gentle, giving the sky its pink color, nevertheless it additionally scatters a number of the blue gentle into the realm simply across the solar due to its measurement. The blue color solely turns into obvious close to dawn and sundown, when the sunshine has to go by means of the most important quantity of mud.” 

This phenomenon – of some wavelength of sunshine getting misplaced – is named interstellar extinction. Its extent is determined by the absorption of sunshine in addition to different interactions with mud particles in its path.   

“When the blue gentle scatters off the mud, it stays nearer to the path of the solar than gentle of different colors does,” Dr. Lemmon, now of Texas A&M College, School Station, and a member of the science crew of the Curiosity rover mission, mentioned in a unique assertion. “The remainder of the sky is yellow to orange, as yellow and pink gentle scatter everywhere in the sky as a substitute of being absorbed or staying near the solar.”  

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