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This is what a sunset on Mars looks like

The Mars Rover sent back its first-ever color images from the surface of the Red Planet. It actually sent four, showing a blue sunset on Mars.

When we watch a sunset, the radiant colors we see are partly a result of the light hitting the planet at the right angle, and more powerful wavelengths of color stretching through the atmosphere. Shorter wavelengths of color like blue and green scatter among the air particles, disappearing almost entirely. Longer wavelengths like red and orange are filtered through those particles, but not as much as others colors. That’s why sunsets on Earth are filled with warm colors.

On Mars, however, the atmosphere is different. There are different concentrations and types of air particles than on Earth, and as a result, there are different colors. Specifically, blue.

The Mars Rover recently took its first color pictures ever. In fact, it took its first four color images, which together show us a sunset-tinted in blue. On Mars, the dust is exactly the right size and shape to allow the blue wavelength through.

The images were taken on April 15 over the span of 6 minutes and 51 seconds. They were taken in the Gale Crater, the same general area that the Mars Rover has spent its mission studying.

The clip below combines the images into one video, courtesy of SciNews.

The Rover’s camera is a bit more sensitive to light in the blue wavelength than the human eye is. The result is a series of images that are slightly more blue than we would see if we watched the sunset from Mars, but only slightly. To the human eye, there would still be a distinct blue tint, but it would be slightly more white than in the video below.

Check it out. It’s not every day you can say that you’ve seen the sunset on an alien world.



Founder and DBP boss. Ryan likes the Kansas Jayhawks, long walks on the beach, and high fiving unsuspecting people.
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