ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, a mission that is being carried out by the European Space Agency (ESA) that is now orbiting Mars, has discovered that the night sky of Mars emits light in the optical spectrum. Nightglow is a phenomenon that occurs often in the conditions of planetary bodies across the Solar System. There are a variety of things that might trigger our environment to produce its very own illumination at night, but our very own Sun is one of the most significant. Now, for the very first time, a mellow green glow that is visible in the dark skies of Mars has been identified for the very first time.
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Scattered solar light hinders such measurements from Earth’s ground, and no space-borne instrument has observed the Mars visible nightglow, explained the researchers.
That is the consequence of oxygen atoms being carried from the bright Martian day and combining to form dioxygen (O2), which then emits a light that is sufficiently powerful to be observed by the Earth’s surface. Given the molecules that are involved, the nightglow that we see here on Earth might seem like multiple layers of green, golden, or even crimson light when viewed from space.
So far, it has been observed that Mars emits both infrared and ultraviolet nightglow. On Mars, scientists have even seen dayglow, which is created by the atmosphere’s uptake and emission of energy from solar radiation in the range of visible light.
Check out the animation below:
Photodissociation is the name given to the process that occurs when molecules are broken apart by sunshine throughout the day. On the other hand, the free atoms are able to recombine into molecules on the darker side of the sky, which is shielded against the fierce radiation that is emitted by the Sun. This results in the atoms releasing their surplus energy in the form of photons. Those who travel to Mars in the future will benefit from having a better understanding of how the atmosphere functions.
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