Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2000 December 1
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A Frosty Crater On Mars
Credit: Malin Space Science Systems, MGS, JPL, NASA

Explanation: In the martian southern hemisphere, autumn has arrived. As on planet Earth, the cooler temperatures bring a seasonal frost to the landscape. Of course on Mars, the surface temperatures can be really cool, reaching below minus 100 degrees C. This detailed Mars Global Surveyor synthesized color image of Lowell crater at 52 degrees south martian latitude was recorded on October 17. Whitish frost has begun to accumulate on floor of the 201 kilometer wide crater. The crater's weathered walls suggest Lowell is relatively old. In striking contrast, two smaller, sharp-rimmed young craters are clearly superimposed on the older features near Lowell's outer rim.

Tomorrow's picture: Cosmic Ray Puzzle

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.