Mars Dust Devil Has Colorful Effect in Image Series

July 14, 2009
While the panoramic camera (Pancam) on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit was taking exposures with different color filters during the 1,919th Martian day of the rover's mission (May 27, 2009), dust devils moved across the field of view.

(PhysOrg.com) -- Scientists have combined a trio of shots taken seconds apart through different colored filters to create a special-effects portrait of a moving dust devil on Mars.

The panoramic camera on NASA's was taking exposures through different filters during the 1,919th Martian day of Spirit's mission (May 27, 2009) as part of constructing a large color panorama. Three westward shots, with several seconds intervening between them, caught a whirlwind in motion. A composite image combining the three exposures to make a color image of the Martian ground shows the dust devil in different colors, according to where it was on the horizon when each exposure was taken.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell University/Texas A&M

Dust devils occur on both Mars and on Earth when solar energy heats the surface, resulting in a layer of warm air just above the surface. Since the warmed air is less dense than the cooler atmosphere above it, it rises, making a swirling thermal plume that picks up the fine dust from the surface and carries it up into the atmosphere. This plume of dust moves with the local wind.

More than 650 dust devils have been recorded by Spirit since its operations began in 2004. The mission is currently in its third season of devils on , which typically begin in Martian spring.

Provided by JPL/NASA (news : web)

Explore further: Spirit's Solar Panels Still Shiny After All This Time

Related Stories

Spirit's Solar Panels Still Shiny After All This Time

January 6, 2006

The most recent self-portrait of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit shows the solar panels still gleaming in the martian sunlight and carrying only a thin veneer of dust two years after the rover landed and began exploring ...

Dust Devils Whip By Spirit

April 13, 2007

On sol 1120 (February 26, 2007), the navigation camera aboard NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Spirit captured one of the best dust devils it’s seen in its three-plus year mission. The series of navigation camera images ...

Recommended for you

Dense star clusters shown to be binary black hole factories

July 29, 2015

The coalescence of two black holes—a very violent and exotic event—is one of the most sought-after observations of modern astronomy. But, as these mergers emit no light of any kind, finding such elusive events has been ...

Image: Hubble sees a dying star's final moments

July 31, 2015

A dying star's final moments are captured in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The death throes of this star may only last mere moments on a cosmological timescale, but this star's demise is still quite ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.