NASA managed to capture the pulsating night sky of Mars

The MAVEN team (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, an American artificial satellite for the study of the atmosphere of Mars,

part of the Mars Scout project) was surprised to find that the atmosphere on Mars pulsates exactly three times per night, and only during spring and autumn on the Red Planet.

The new data also revealed unexpected waves and spirals over the poles in winter and confirmed the results from the Mars Express spacecraft that the night glow was brightest in the polar regions in winter.

MAVEN imagery offers us the first global understanding of atmospheric movements in the middle atmosphere of Mars, a critical region where air currents carry gases between the lower and upper layers.

Nick Schneider of the University of Colorado's Laboratory of Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP)

Clarification occurs where vertical wind carries gases into higher density areas, accelerating chemical reactions that create nitric oxide and intensify UV light.

Ultraviolet light comes mainly fromheights of about 70 km, and the brightest spot is about a thousand kilometers across. It is as bright in ultraviolet light as Earth's northern lights. Unfortunately, the composition of Mars' atmosphere means these bright spots do not emit light in the visible wavelength range that would-be Martian astronauts would see them. It's a pity: bright spots intensified overhead every night after sunset and drifted across the sky at a speed of 300 km / h.

Ultraviolet "night glow" of the Mars atmosphere over the South Pole : This is an image of the ultraviolet "night glow" of the Martian atmosphere over the South Pole. Credit: NASA / MAVEN / Goddard Space Flight Center / CU / LASP

In the future, the MAVEN team plans to look atnight glow "from the side" rather than from above, using data obtained by the IUVS. These data will be used to better understand vertical winds and seasonal variations.

Scheme the glowing night side of Mars: The diagram explains the reason for the glowing nighttime atmosphere of Mars. Credit: NASA / MAVEN / Goddard Space Flight Center / СU / LASP

The Martian night glow was firstdiscovered by the SPICAM instrument on the Mars Express spacecraft of the European Space Agency. However, the IUVS is a next generation tool that is better able to display the night glow repeatedly, detecting patterns and periodic behavior. Many planets, including Earth, have a night glow, but MAVEN is the first mission to collect so many images of another planet's night glow.

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