Nightglow in the Martian Sky
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Text, News from the Universe. August 14, 2020. The Earth spins.
Text, Night-glow in the Martian Sky. August 14, 2020. Martian South Pole Credit, NASA slash GSFC, CU slash LASP.
Astronomers studying data from NASA's MAVEN spacecraft discovered a pulsing ultraviolet glow in the Martian atmosphere
The middle atmosphere pulsed exactly three times per night during Mars' spring and fall.
Vertical winds carry gases down to denser atmospheric regions, which speeds chemical reactions that create nitric oxide and power the ultraviolet glow.
The pulsations reveal the importance of planet-encircling waves in the atmosphere, which is affected from below by mountains and from above by solar heating.
Animation traces MAVEN's path around Mars, while the planetary winds are green arrows which circle the planet.
Text, Many planets exhibit night-glow, including Earth. The MAVEN data is the most ever collected of the effect on another planet.
This news was brought to you in part by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD.