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.

2001 July 27
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download 
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Martian Dust Storm
Credit: TES Team, MGS, JPL, NASA

Explanation: If you've been unhappy with the weather on Earth, check out Mars, now in the grip of a planet-wide dust storm. Above, observations from the orbiting Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft illustrate the storm's progress through July 21. The series of dated frames show measurements from the MGS Thermal Emission Spectrometer which can determine both temperature and amount of atmospheric dust. Dust data has been plotted on maps of the martian surface with blue representing relatively clear atmosphere and red colors indicating increasing concentrations of dust. In mid June, scientists first noticed the beginnings of the storm in Mars' southern hemisphere and have watched it grow to obscure most of the planet. Unfortunately for Mars-watchers, the timing of the storm has hidden the Red Planet's surface from view during its period of close approach to planet Earth.

Tomorrow's picture: Northeast Fireball

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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.