Mars: Wayward Dust Devil Caught in the Act

Mar 26, 2010
Credit: NASA/JPL

(PhysOrg.com) -- The HiRISE camera photographed a dust devil roaming the Martian plains far from the normal occurrence of such weather phenomena.

Sometimes the University of Arizona's HiRISE camera finds something unexpected while orbiting the .

This image was targeted to study knobs in Mars' northern plains, just north of Scandia Crater. The knobs are clearly imaged, but what surprised scientists was a dust devil visible in the south-central part of the image (left margin).

Credit: NASA/JPL

As on Earth, dust devils form when ground heated by sunlight warms the air above it. The hot air rises, forming an updraft accompanied by vortical motions. Because warm ground is a requirement, dust devils on generally form in late spring to summer, especially at high latitudes.

This image was taken in early spring (2010), at a latitude of 61 degrees North. No dust devil has been seen this far from the equator at such an early season before.

Explore further: Dawn spirals closer to Ceres, returns a new view

Related Stories

Dust Devils Whip By Spirit

Apr 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 ...

Frost-Covered Phoenix Lander Seen in Winter Images

Nov 05, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Winter images of NASA's Phoenix Lander showing the lander shrouded in dry-ice frost on Mars have been captured with the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment, or HiRISE camera, aboard ...

Recommended for you

Dawn spirals closer to Ceres, returns a new view

7 hours ago

A new view of Ceres, taken by NASA's Dawn spacecraft on May 23, shows finer detail is becoming visible on the dwarf planet. The spacecraft snapped the image at a distance of 3,200 miles (5,100 kilometers) ...

Ariane 5's second launch of 2015

18 hours ago

An Ariane 5 lifted off last night from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana and delivered two telecom satellites into their planned orbits.

User comments : 0

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.