The image is a combination of 21 single images that the rover took recently to study a strange type of soft cloud over her home in Gale Crater. Scientists realized two years ago on Earth that this type of cloud is forming earlier in the Martian year than they expected. So in this Martian year, Curiosity of Watched the first draw and it didn’t disappoint. The clouds have already appeared since late January, when a skywatcher robot began documenting fluffy, ice-rich clouds that dissipate sunlight in sometimes colorful displays.“I am always amazed at the colors that appear: red, green, blue and violet,” said Mark Lemon, an atmospheric scientist at the Space Science Institute in Colorado. He said in a statement from NASA. “It’s really cool to see something that shines with so much color on Mars.”
Oddly enough, these clouds appear higher in Mars atmosphere of those clouds that scientists typically see on the planet, according to NASA. Usually, if a cloud passes over Curiosity, the structures are filled with water ice and float 60 kilometers above the surface of Mars.
The clouds in the new Curiosity images are higher in the atmosphere, although NASA has not determined their height. The distinction may reflect a different composition, clouds from frozen carbon dioxide or dry ice, according to the agency, although scientists have not yet trusted this interpretation.
Clouds are at their most beautiful just after sunset, when the last light shines through the ice crystals, which is why scientists call it nocturnal or nocturnal shine. (Curiosity can observe these night clouds with the black and white navigation cameras and color camera.)
Some of these clouds look a bit iridescent when the cloud particles are very similar in size, which usually happens when clouds form and grow at the same speed, Lemon said.
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