diagram of Mars' glowing nightside atmostphere

August 06, 2020

The diagram explains the cause of Mars’ glowing nightside atmosphere. On Mars’ dayside, molecules are torn apart by energetic solar photons. Global circulation patterns carry the atomic fragments to the nightside, where downward winds increase the reaction rate for the atoms to reform molecules. The downwards winds occur near the poles at some seasons and in the equatorial regions at others. The new molecules hold extra energy which they emit as ultraviolet light.

Credit

NASA/MAVEN/Goddard Space Flight Center/CU/LASP

ENLARGE

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