Mars: Wayward Dust Devil Caught in the Act

March 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: Dust Devils Whip By Spirit

Related Stories

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 ...

Frost-Covered Phoenix Lander Seen in Winter Images

November 5, 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 NASA's Mars Reconnaissance ...

Recommended for you

Hubble catches a transformation in the Virgo constellation

December 9, 2016

The constellation of Virgo (The Virgin) is especially rich in galaxies, due in part to the presence of a massive and gravitationally-bound collection of over 1300 galaxies called the Virgo Cluster. One particular member of ...

Scientists sweep stodgy stature from Saturn's C ring

December 9, 2016

As a cosmic dust magnet, Saturn's C ring gives away its youth. Once thought formed in an older, primordial era, the ring may be but a mere babe – less than 100 million years old, according to Cornell-led astronomers in ...

Khatyrka meteorite found to have third quasicrystal

December 9, 2016

(Phys.org)—A small team of researchers from the U.S. and Italy has found evidence of a naturally formed quasicrystal in a sample obtained from the Khatyrka meteorite. In their paper published in the journal Scientific Reports, ...

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.