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The Martian Chronicles

Sols 2400-2401: Just a cloud at twilight…

7 May 2019, 00:00 UTC
Sols 2400-2401: Just a cloud at twilight…
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Clouds visible in a raw Mastcam image taken at about 4pm local true solar time on sol 2393.
Mars is steadily moving toward the cloudiest time of year at low latitudes, which occurs from about southern mid fall through mid winter. This means that right now, just over 40 Mars sols after fall equinox, we’re expecting to see the cloud cover increasing, especially at the times of day when air temperatures are cooler. The image shows thin clouds, probably made of water ice, that are visible in a raw Mastcam image taken at about 4pm local true solar time on sol 2393.
In the previous plan, we added some Navcam cloud movies just after sunrise in Gale Crater. But in the current plan, we added a Navcam north-facing ‘twilight’ movie to look for clouds right after sunset. A nice side benefit is that we may be able to estimate the altitude of any clouds we observe, if we see them ‘fade’ during the movie. This is because the clouds will only appear bright if they’re still receiving direct sunlight, and the time at which that ceases depends on how high they are above the surface. This is also a particularly ...

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