According to NASA, the Red Planet pulses ultraviolet light into the outer space. The discovery was made with the help of NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft, which was specially designed to observe the atmosphere of Mars. Apparently, several areas of the planet pulse flashes of light throughout the night. This exciting phenomenon cannot be seen with the naked eye since it is necessary to use ultraviolet technology.
The scientists were surprised to find out that the pulsating light is a frequent phenomenon on Mars during the spring and autumn months. The ultraviolet show is created when the vertical winds transport gases to areas with high density. Consequently, the process stimulates chemical reactions, which are speeded, producing nitric oxide, being the critical factor responsible for ultraviolet glow.
The Martian Aurora Borealis
The brightest spot of the ultraviolet glow is situated at around 600 miles, and the scientists compare it to the Earth’s northern lights. Unfortunately, the chemical composition of the Red Planet’s atmosphere stops these bright spots from eliminating glare at visible wavelengths. Therefore, a future human crewed mission to Mars will not be able to intercept the phenomena.
One step closer to understanding Mars
What is even most interesting about MAVEN’s latest findings is represented by the fact that it is the first time for humanity to come across images that demonstrate the atmospheric motions of the Red Planet in its middle area. This particular location is a critical area where the gases are carried around with the help of air currents between the highest and the lowest layers.
Scientists are planning on looking at Mars’ atmosphere from another perspective, trying to understand the way in which vertical winds and seasonal changes work at the surface of the Red Planet. They plan on doing this big step by analyzing the IUVS data.