A 1,800 kilometer long cloud appears every day on Mars, now we finally know its origin
Every year, when spring comes to the Southern Hemisphere of Mars, a gigantic cloud appears next to the Arsia Mons volcano. So gigantic that it reaches 1,800 kilometers in length. Yes OK appears periodically each day for several hoursIt has not been until now that we have been able to know more exactly how it is generated.
Spaceship Mars Express of the European Space Agency has gotten new and better images through its monitoring camera. With them, astronomers have been able to investigate and better understand the process of formation of this cloud that stretches hundreds of kilometers.
The Mars Express monitoring camera it was installed at the time to visually confirm that the Beagle 2 Lander had been successfully separated from the Mars Express in 2003. It was then shut down and only several years later was turned on again to collect images for scientific research purposes. Among the images he has recently collected are those of the mysterious Martian cloud.
The volcano that disturbs the atmosphere of Mars
The cloud of Mars appears in a daily cycle in which it is formed and destroyed in a few hours. This occurs during the Martian spring period, which lasts for about 80 days. This cloud was previously seen for the first time in 1976 and was photographed by Mars Express in 2009, 2012, 2015 and 2018. The cloud, some 1,800 kilometers long and 150 wide, is visible even from Earth with telescopes.
Now, how is it formed? The new observations suggest that the Arsia Mons volcano is to blame for everything. It is an orographic cloud and it is formed as a result of the wind that is forced upwards by the relief. In this case, the particular relief is the gigantic Arsia Mons volcano, about 20 kilometers high.
With such altitude the volcano manages to disturb the atmosphere of Mars and thus causes the creation of this cloud. Moist air appears to be pushed up the volcano’s flanks during updrafts, causing it to condense at higher, cooler altitudes in the atmosphere. The process begins every morning around five in the morning on Martian time. In the next three hours the strong winds rapidly expand the cloud and for the rest of the morning until noon the cloud already fades.
By understanding the operation and origin of this cloud, astronomers can now simulate it more comfortably on computers to better understand the climate of Mars. Likewise, a mystery that has puzzled astronomers for decades is finally solved.
Via | THIS