Solar System Chatter

Mars in Ultraviolet

NASA/MAVEN/University of Colorado
NASA/MAVEN/University of Colorado
The MAVEN spacecraft, which has been orbiting around Mars since 2014, recently sent back ultraviolet images of the entire globe. By studying the UV light, scientists can now detect the dynamic wind behavior at high altitudes on Mars, how the ozone concentrations change over the course of a year, and how clouds form around the planet’s four largest volcanoes, which can help explain energy distribution in the atmosphere as the seasons change. The volcano Olympus Mons appears in the dark spot near the top of the image at right, with a dot of white clouds in the center, at its peak. The three other volcanoes appear in the diagonal line, and their cloud cover often merges into a formation thousands of miles long. Click through here to watch a video that stitches together the global UV images from MAVEN.

Heather Goss is the Departments Editor at Air & Space.

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