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MYSTERY of GLOWING ‘PLUMES’ above MARS: Boffins baffled

A organisation of pledge astronomers has rescued a wily maze for a professionals, documenting an windy plume – or some arrange of thing – above Mars where it shouldn’t happen.

The observations, done in Mar 2012 and created adult for Nature here (PDF), found plumes in a Red Planet’s atmosphere during between 200 and 250 km above a surface.

As lead author of a paper Professor Agustín Sanchez-Lavega of a University of a Basque Country in Spain notes, a plumes “challenge a stream believe about a Martian atmosphere”.

It’s a altitude of a plumes that’s problematic, as a researchers note. Ice crystals can form windy plumes, though a paper records that these start next 100 km altitude; dirt storms max out during 37 km.

If a plume’s start can’t be determined, a University’s recover says, it could poise a jeopardy to low-orbit Mars missions.

It’s possibly that a plumes could be some kind of aurora, though a paper states that if it is, it’s 1,000 times brighter than aurorae seen in Earth’s atmosphere.

First celebrated on 12 Mar 2012, a plume was rescued for 11 uninterrupted days, with observations on 20 and 21 Mar seen by “at slightest 18 observers contracting 20-40 cm telescopes during wavelengths from blue to red (450-650 nm)”.

The puzzling plume in Mars' atmosphere

The puzzling plume. Source: University of a Basque Country

The plumes were speckled during a day-night range (the terminator), fluctuating between 500 and 1,000 km in both a north-south and east-west directions, appearing during roughly -45° embodiment / 195° west longitude.

According to Discovery, a halo speculation is regarded as unlikely, highbrow Sanchez-Lavega (lead author of a paper) describes a “immense enterprising flux” compulsory for an halo as “unrealistic”.

Sanchez-Lavega’s elite reason is that a plumes exhibit something new about Mars’ meteorology: for H2O or CO dioxide to precipitate like this during 200 km would need a vast heat drop, “something not foreseen by any windy model”. ®

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Article source: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/02/17/amateurs_spot_mars_surprise_giant_plumes_in_the_atmosphere/

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