Help Shape the Future of Space Exploration

Join The Planetary Society Now Join Now!

Join our eNewsletter for updates & action alerts

   Please leave this field empty
Blogs

Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla

Midnight Sun on Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla

24-07-2008 13:28 CDT

Topics:

This image is amazing. It is actually many images of the Sun, shot near midnight as Phoenix gazes off toward Mars' north pole. My congratulations to the Phoenix team for imagining it and capturing it, from a spacecraft built well enough to operate around the clock. I think this will become an iconic photo for the mission.

Midnight Sun on Mars

NASA / JPL / UA / Texas A & M

Midnight Sun on Mars
Uniquely among Mars landers, Phoenix is able to work "around the clock," becuase of its far northern location. Since it is summer in Mars' northern hemisphere, and because Phoenix landed above Mars' "Arctic Circle," the Sun never sets, instead circling overhead. However, the Sun is highest in the southern sky and lowest in the northern sky. Phoenix shot this panoramic view looking to the north near midnight on sol 54-55 (July 20, 2008). The images of the Sun were captured over 11 different sols at a variety of different local times, from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Each night, the Sun's path across the sky was slightly lower, causing the lack of smoothness to the curve. As the summer wears on, the path of the midnight Sun will eventually intersect the horizon, and Phoenix will finally see its first sunset. This will happen some time in September.

 
See other posts from July 2008

 

Or read more blog entries about:

Facebook Twitter Email RSS AddThis

Blog Search

JOIN THE
PLANETARY SOCIETY

Our Curiosity Knows No Bounds!

Become a member of The Planetary Society and together we will create the future of space exploration.

Join Us

Featured Images

Hubble's view of Mars during the Comet Siding Spring flyby

Mars from Hubble STIS, April 26, 2012
Hubble's view of Mars on October 19, 2014 (color)
Mars as viewed by Hubble ACS/SBC, May 30, 2014
More Images

Featured Video

View Larger »

Space in Images

Pretty pictures and
awe-inspiring science.

See More

Join the New Millennium Committee

Let’s invent the future together!

Become a Member

Connect With Us

Facebook! Twitter! Google+ and more…
Continue the conversation with our online community!