A strangely long cloud has formed many times over the same thing Martian Volcano that scientists have given up and named it.
Meet the extended Arsia Mons Cloud, or AMEC. Its long bright trails have become a familiar feature on the peak known as Arsia Mons, southeast of the most famous Olympus Mons. Although the cloud comes and passes the volcano, scientists say it was not formed by the volcano itself. And it’s on time: Scientists connected to Europe’s Mars Express orbit were waiting for it to reappear in its annual cycle.
“We have been investigating this intriguing phenomenon and were looking forward to seeing such a new form all around,”; Jorge Hernandez-Bernal, Ph.D. candidate at the Basque Country University in Spain and lead author of the ongoing study, said in a statement issued by the European Space Agency (ESA), which manages the spacecraft.
Photos: View of the Red Planet from the Mars Express in Europe
“This elongated cloud forms every Viti Martian during this season around the southern solstice, and repeats for 80 days or even longer, “said Hernandez-Bernal.” However, we do not yet know if the clouds are always so impressive. “
So far, scientists have captured cloud noise for as long as 1,100 miles (1,800 kilometers), according to the ESA. The tail-like structure is made of water ice, and despite its location above Arsia Mons, it was not formed by the volcano itself, scientists said, but rather by the way local winds interact with the topography.
And the prolonged Cloud Arsia Mons not only comes, stays for a while, then disperses. It forms and fades over several hours each local morning, and then returns the next day. This makes it difficult to study the new orbit around the Red Planet.
But Mars Express is uniquely qualified to do so. It carries an instrument called Visual Monitoring Camera, which can photograph an extremely wide swath of the planet in a single frame. And the spacecraft orbit rises to place Arsia Mons in its appearance during the morning hours when the cloud is visible.
“The magnitude of this large cloud cannot be seen if your camera only has a close-up view, or if you only observe in the afternoon,” said Eleni Ravanis, a graduate of the Visual Camera Camera team. Statements. “Fortunately for Mars Express, the ship’s very elliptical orbit, coupled with the VMC instrument’s wide field of view, allows us to take pictures covering a wide area of the planet early in the morning. This means that we can catch it! “
scientists last spotted new tail-like Arsia Mons in September and October 2018. At that time and again now, the days are the shortest of the year in the northern hemisphere of the Red Planet and the longest of the year in the southern hemisphere. Arsia Mons itself is located just south of the Martian equator and lies at an altitude of about 12 miles (20 km).
Scientists hope that by continuing to study the strange reindeer, they can begin to understand how long it has made its appearances and why it only appears in the morning.
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