A spacecraft on Mars caught a glimpse of something scientists didn’t think they’d see

When it comes to Space scienceThere is still a whole world out there that we know very little about. Even some of the floating rocks out there that have been studied for a while, such as Mars, astronomers are still learning more about them, and their results still shock us all. Now, the latest discovery of Mars proves a theory that scientists have stuck to for a while, but never thought they’d actually see. Here’s what you need to know.

according to Space.comNASA’s Perseverance rover, currently on the surface of Mars, was able to capture a moment of perfect conditions, proving a theory that astronomers have held for a long time: the probe captured the sun’s corona.

“On Earth, when conditions are just right, ice crystals in the atmosphere can distort sunlight to create the appearance of a bright spot on either side of the sun, or a halo that knocks it down,” Space.com explains. Astronomers have long believed that optical phenomena can occur on other plants. But within a decade of exploration, this has never been picked up.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Mark Lemon

That changed on December 15, 2021, when Perseverance caught the phenomenon.

perseverance It really surprised us with some of the images we got in December,” said Mark Lemon, a planetary scientist at the Space Science Institute, a nonprofit research institute in Boulder, Space.com.

“I’ve been involved in this for a long time, and we’ve been looking for halos everywhere and in a lot of pictures,” he added. “I looked at that and thought, ‘I’m going to have a hard time finding an explanation for that. “Because it was all a false alarm, and it’s so much like corona that I thought it would be a lot of work to figure out what was really going on.”

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Space.com It shows that when the conditions are just right, we can see the phenomenon of the corona here on Earth. It happens when ice crystals in the atmosphere bend sunlight to create the appearance of a bright spot or a halo around the sun.

The size and temperature of the crystals affect whether or not the corona can be seen. Also, crystals made up of other chemicals in the atmosphere can produce a halo, but it will look a little different than what we see on Earth, Space.com explains.

“It’s like a fingerprint that tells you what the element was, the shape of the particle, and then a little bit about the size,” Lemon said.

Capturing the corona on Mars was a big moment for researchers publish their results In the September 3 issue Geophysical Research Letters. Lemon explained that seeing the aura was great and would teach them a lot. But in a typical scientific way, he wants to replicate the results before he gets too excited.

“I think the most important thing for us is that we’ve learned that it’s something that can happen,” he said. “We need to look more seriously at that in perseverance, in that location.”

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