Mar 202012
 

Here’s a stumper for any Mars experts. While processing my Mars images from last night, I found a strange feature over Acidalia (top right of the animation below). I made this 5-frame animation of the green-light images. The feature appears in all the channels, but is most visible in blue and green and least visible in IR. Also, it moves with the planet (ruling out dust motes on the sensor) and seems to rise over the limb. Fog rolled in after this, so there is no additional data later than this. If anyone caught Mars after 2:15UT last night, please check your images… particularly after 2:51UT.

Update Note:  for those of you Mars geographers, the most appropriate geographic location to cite for where the feature resides is Terra Cimmerium.  Acidalia was where I thought it was at first glance, but the measured location is 190 degrees by 43 degrees (South) placing over Terra Cimmerium.

Any ideas or thoughts on what this might be?  E-mail me or use the contact button above to let me know.

Also, here’s what it looks like in RGB…

Another image taken at 2:39ut with insert showing slight detachment of cloud from limb.

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Wayne J.

  48 Responses to “A martian stumper….”

  1. Processing Mars images from last night. The feature you have captured is definitely real! It is present on my initial images especially in the blue channel.

    Jim

  2. Volcano ?

  3. Hi, it definitely looks like some sort of gaseous plume [a prominence if this were the Sun]. I think that this would definitely be worth notifying the professional scientific community!

    Regards

    Andy [thesolarexplorer]

  4. [...] An amateur astronomer in West Chester, Penn. took a picture of a curious Martian cloud several nights ago that has the community of Mars observers abuzz. Wayne Jaeschke photographed Mars on the evening of March 19 with a 14-inch telescope and noticed the plume after processing his images. It struck him as odd the way it stood so high off the planet’s limb, so he shared it with other Mars watchers in the online Mars Group. He also made a cool 5-frame animation of the feature you can view HERE. [...]

  5. [...] A martian stumper…. » Exosky.net – Wayne Jaeschke’s Astrophotography: A martian stumper…. » Exosky.net – Wayne Jaeschke’s Astrophotography [...]

  6. Well, my scope were leaving the workbench that night… Adjusting the mount for PEC.
    Took some AVI of Mars at UT 12:35, for testing the tracking. Used… IR filter!
    After processing the images – suboptimal focus – and stretching it I doubt I saw anything, maybe to soon for the cloud structure was still bellow the Martian limb from my location (southern Brazil, lat – 23° 26′ 31.1″ long – 051° 57′ 27.2″).
    Congratulations! Very nice shots and very important finding. Indeed Mars looks very cloudy lately, almost no NPC, huge clouds over Tharsis volcanoes and now this! What a summer, Man!!

  7. OR… could it be another thing? Like a plume from a huge impact? Such is the opinion of Donald C Parker, excellent image in http://alpo-j.asahikawa-med.ac.jp/kk12/m120321z.htm , indeed, estimated 60 mile high… is there any atmosphere over Mars this high? To produce clouds? Down here clouds and rain… different planet…

  8. We’re ALL passing through the galactic plane. It is highly magnetic so it’s agitating at least.
    http://www.universetoday.com/14082/comet-strikes-increase-as-we-pass-through-the-galactic-plane/

    This is why our pole is shifting towards Russia and geo activity is on the rise. What a ride! 12/21/2012 is the only time in 13,300 years that the sun will rise in the center of Ophicus. The center of the galactic plane.

  9. Awesome. Lets point Hubble to it

  10. Plasma (auroral) of some sort, no doubt.

  11. [...] again to our new visitors.  I hope that after taking a good look at the photos of the fascinating event on Mars, you take a look around and see what goes on here.  In a nutshell, I take pictures of the planets [...]

  12. When I first saw this story, I smiled and said to myself “It’s War of the Worlds! The Martians are coming.”

    Seriously though, this is a good catch. I was deep-sky imaging nearby M95 this weekend, capturing the new supernova there. Had I known I would have spent some time on Mars first.

  13. I think it is a consequence of CMEs between the 07th and ~ 14 Of March. Mars was “behind” the earth, in opposition to the sun. Please see you my video “magnetosphere-in-danger” on Youtube. Here is a analysis with Graphics of the effects of CMEs on the Earth. Of course, the planet Mars was also severely affected.
    Video on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsaKhvf46ys
    Best greetings,
    Mari

  14. [...] fact, because Mars is close, it’s been the target of many amateur astronomers recently. Wayne Jaeschke was observing it on March 20th from West Chester, Pennsylvania and noticed something odd: a blob or bulge on the [...]

  15. [...] fact, because Mars is close, it’s been the target of many amateur astronomers recently. Wayne Jaeschke was observing it on March 20th from West Chester, Pennsylvania [...]

  16. [...] week, amateur astronomer Wayne Jaeschke noticed something peculiar in his observations of Mars — there appeared to be a cloud-like [...]

  17. [...] fact, because Mars is close, it’s been the target of many amateur astronomers recently. Wayne Jaeschke was observing it on March 20th from West Chester, Pennsylvania and noticed something odd: a blob or bulge on the [...]

  18. That should be desctibed as “top right” (not left), shouldn’t it?

  19. [...] fact, because Mars is close, it’s been the target of many amateur astronomers recently. Wayne Jaeschke was observing it on March 20th from West Chester, Pennsylvania and noticed something odd: a blob or bulge on the [...]

  20. [...] a strange phenomenon spotted over Mars last week. Astrophotographer Wayne Jaeschke reports on his website of a “strange feature” over the Martian plain called Acidalia that moves with the [...]

  21. I think this could this be the Lomonosov crater coming into sunlight. If you put a circle over Mars, you’ll see that it’s slightly gibbous.

  22. Ir’s probably only the guys from Hollywood remaking “Total Recall” and someone just activated the Martian Oxygenation process :) Anyone seen Arnie lately?

    It’s due to come out again in 2012…. conspiracy one might think?

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1386703/

    LOL

  23. [...] fact, because Mars is close, it’s been the target of many amateur astronomers recently. Wayne Jaeschke was observing it on March 20th from West Chester, Pennsylvania and noticed something odd: a blob or bulge on the [...]

  24. Looks like a mirage…. In the sense that it is an atmospheric artifact bending light from around the limb. Just my guess…

    I dont think its an actual object above the surface of the planet.

  25. My bet is an impact, this rises to the very limit of the atmosphere. Need to look for a new crater somewhere in that area.

  26. I’m thinking an impact plume as well

  27. [...] Jaeschke writes: Here’s a stumper for any Mars experts. While processing my Mars images from last night, I found [...]

  28. [...] Jaeschke writes: Here’s a stumper for any Mars experts. While processing my Mars images from last night, I found [...]

  29. Since there is no signs of active volcanic activity on record for Mars, I would hypothesize it is a plume from an impact with an asteroid.

  30. While Olympus Mons is dormant today, volcanologists are not entirely convinced more isn’t going on geothermally on Mars. I strongly suspect there are still molten (or at least mushy) magma bodies beneath the huge Tharsis volcanoes , and beneath Elysium Mons .

    But the youngest surficial activity discovered to date (and it’s probably 1 million years old, which would be considered quite young, and possibly ‘active’ on Mars) is in a region that contains no large volcanic structures of any kind. Instead, there are cracks in the ground, and a few low-lying volcanoes that can’t even be seen except in the high-resolution topography (they are too subtle for imagery to reveal). This area is called Cerberus Fossae.

    If it is volcanic in origin, Wayne has discovered the first volcano eruption on Mars in a millenium.

    I would very much like to see a high-resolution photo of the far-left origin of the ‘plume’ to see if there is an existing caldera there or maybe a new one forming.

  31. that’s no moon!

  32. Just wondering if anyone else managed to image this event. Not doubting the authenticity, but would like to see more images. It looks like an impact plume…….not a mirage or trick of light. What has NASA to say about it? As far as I can tell….nothing. Thanks for the image.

  33. Hi Michael,

    That’s an excellent question! And what makes this interesting is that the phenomena I reported was confirmed through images by Don Parker, Glenn Jolly, Jim Phillips (see the first comment in this thread), John Boudreau, James Willinghan, and a few other experienced amateurs around the world. Our network of amateurs relies on one another to provide confirmation of “odd” features noticed on images. Although reports of unusual features are rare, what’s even more rare is that they can be confirmed as they were in this case.

    It’s in French, but here’s an article with Don Parker’s outstanding image of the cloud, taken the night after mine.

    http://www.cieletespace.fr/node/8797

    thanks!

    Wayne

  34. Thanks Wayne,
    After I posted, I did a bit more research and found that indeed, several others had captured similar images. I am still perplexed at Nasa’s silence about it. There was a short blurb on MSNBC, but no further info that I can find. Just seems odd to me, especially since there are so many of us out there that observe and capture events like this. Just saying! Keep up the good work! Clear skies!

  35. Hi Michael,

    NASA, like all scientific research bodies, adheres to the belief that the researcher that made the observation be the one that announces the finding. As applied to amateurs, what this really means is that since the observation wasn’t made by NASA, they are unlikely to comment publicly on it until something is published on it. That said, it’s a little premature for any professional researcher to make any public comments, as we simply don’t know what it is yet — and NASA/JPL are about the last people in the world to say “hey look.. it’s cool but we have no clue what it is!”

    That doesn’t mean that there aren’t researchers from all over the place looking at this and conjecturing what it is. Also, NASA/JPL typical manage programs and spacecraft. The research is done by people at various institute. In this case, I have been contacted by researchers from at least 5 different organizations and am trying my best to provide them all with factual data from the observation for their analysis. Being scientists, though, they’re not going to say too much until they have fully studies the new data against old data and can back-up their conclusions against peer review.

    I wouldn’t expect to see anything published on this from a professional research organization for at least a few months.

    Wayne

  36. [...] hemisphere, preceding the sunrise terminator. Astrophotographer Wayne Jaeschke reports on his website of a “strange feature” over the Martian plain called Acidalia that moves with the [...]

  37. Please, take a look at this http://io9.com/5899234/holy-crap-this-martian-dust-devil-is-enormous
    It is a dust devil, martian version… Nature, indeed, is much more surprising than our imagination.

  38. NICE! You did a great job on a piece of scientific work… I sleep better knowing there are amateur explorers with professional ablities monitoring our surroundings, no matter how close or far they are. Congratulations!

    Oh, on what that is… I got nothin’.

  39. Very interesting, especially considering the near-total absence of craters (= comparatively recent lava flows) in the vicinity of some Martian volcanoes.

    The image looks a lot like this one:

    http://spacetime.forumotion.com/t1102-late-spring-ice-cloud-above-mars

  40. [...] It struck him as odd the way it stood so high off the planet’s limb, so he shared it with other Mars watchers in the online Mars Group. He also made a cool 5-frame animation of the feature you can view HERE. [...]

  41. I adore this site layout ! How did you make it? Its so nice.

  42. I was looking for that anomoly, actually. If you think about it you will see that Mars is acting as a Micro Lens for a High Mass Object behind it that emits little or no light and that Projected the anomaly at the Terminator Boundary of Mars that you captured. This is actually undeniable and the only question would be what the High Mass Object is.

    In my opinion it is a Black Dwarf called Planet X.

    Realize that were Black Dwarves to exist they would account for 50% of the Missing Mass of the Universe.

    You just photographed Mars transiting a Black Dwarf…

  43. The Dust Devil Theory that one person posted can be ruled out by the Halo that is evident in one of your photos completely around the Red Planet.

  44. Hi Wayne!

    I just got to thinking about this anomaly again, when I realised that the MRO is producing weekly weather maps of Mars under the supervision of Malin Space Sciences.

    I’ve been looking at their coverage of Acidalia for March 17th to 31st, and while I can see what appear to be sandstorms sweeping the region, perhaps you would be able to make better sense of them than I can.

    http://www.msss.com/msss_images/2012/03/21/

    Apologies if you’re already aware of this.

  45. Does Curiosity have the capability to listen for Martian impacts?

  46. Wayne,

    I recently ran across your images of the unusual cloud feature on Mars. It reminded me of an similar (but not identical) feature that I imaged in 2003. The link below is to the Mars section of my web site. About 3/4 of the way down the page is an image that I took in Aug of 2003 that showed a dark spot on the limb of Mars. As the text indicates, several other imagers (including Therry Legault) caught the same feature. If you follow the link to the Mars Observer site you will find images and a discussion of what I believe is the source of the dark spot in my image.

    I am not sure how this relates to the feature that you have captured. Maybe there is something in the Mars Observer archives at the location that you believe is the location of the cloud that would shed some light on the feature.

    http://georgeastro.weebly.com/mars.html

    Good Luck,
    George Hall

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