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Emily LakdawallaAugust 3, 2007

Hubble views of Mars' dust storm

Image processing magician Ted Stryk just sent me a couple of recent views of Mars from the Hubble Space Telescope. The data for these images was taken on July 23 and 27, while the rovers were suffering under the darkest skies they'd seen throughout their missions (these dates correspond to sols 1243/1263 and 1249/1269 for the rovers). Ted found the data here; apparently, because it was taken as part of a calibration exercise and not for scientific research purposes, the data was made available immediately. So Ted capitalized, producing these images. They are false color -- the actual data was in shorter wavelengths ranging from 260 to 430 nanometers, ultraviolet to blue -- but the difference in the amount of surface features visible between the July 23 and July 27 images is real.

Hubble Space Telescope views of Mars' developing dust storm

NASA / Hubble Space Telescope / Space Science Institute / color by Ted Stryk

Hubble Space Telescope views of Mars' developing dust storm
These images of Mars were taken by the Hubble Space Telescope as Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's MARCI camera photographed Mars from the same point of view (but, of course, from a much closer distance). The Hubble data is intended to support the calibration of the ultraviolet channel on MARCI. The images reveal the development of the large dust storm between July 23 (left) and July 27 (right). The original Hubble images were taken in ultraviolet and blue wavelengths; their color has been shifted to more closely match the color of Mars as seen by human eyes.

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Emily Lakdawalla

Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist for The Planetary Society
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