Explanation: On Mars dust storms can't actually blow spacecraft over, but they can blot out the Sun. Over three months ago a planet-wide dust storm caused a severe lack of sunlight for the Mars rover Opportunity at its location near the west rim of Endeavor crater. The lack of sunlight sent the solar-powered Opportunity into hibernation and for over 115 sols controllers have not received any communication from the rover. The dust is clearing as the storm subsides though. On September 20th, when this image was taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's HiRISE camera, about 25 percent of the sunlight was reaching the surface again. The white box marks a 47-meter-wide (154-foot-wide) area centered on a blip identified as the silent-for-now Opportunity rover.
My shots of Mars from the 5th and 26th of September... I was glad that the storm was abating...
The 5th was taken with a 2x Barlow lens, and I think my 8" Meade. The 26th was with my Celestron Evolution 6 with no Barlow lens...
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Am always curious as to how the solar panels are cleaned after such events.
Occasionally a fortuitous dust devel happens by. Also, I suppose that some areas of Mars are scoured free of much dust by these winds in general, while other areas would be covered in dust. The mission planners must have taken this into account when choosing the landing sites.
I think opening a car wash would be a good business opportunity on Mars.
This MRO HiRise image shows some lovely long shadows. I wonder if I can figure out if it is from sunrise or sunset ...
Okay, so Wikipedia reveals:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retrograd ... ade_motion
In our Solar System, the orbits about the Sun of all planets and most other objects, except many comets, are prograde, i.e. in the same direction as the Sun rotates. The rotations of most planets, except Venus and Uranus, are also prograde. Most natural satellites have prograde orbits about their planets. Prograde satellites of Uranus orbit in the direction Uranus rotates, which is retrograde to the Sun. Retrograde satellites are generally small and distant from their planets, except Neptune's satellite Triton, which is large and close. All retrograde satellites are thought to have formed separately before being captured by their planets.
So, that makes life pretty simple in most cases. For my question of the moment, if you get a satellite image looking down on a planet with the picture oriented so that North (Solar North, if you will) is up, then in most cases what happens is similar to Earth. On Mars, the Sun will also rise in the East and set in the West. So in this image, if North is up, then we are looking at lengthening shadows and it must be nearing sunset.
Torpor is a state of decreased physiological activity in an animal, usually by a reduced body temperature and metabolic rate. Torpor enables animals to survive periods of reduced food availability. The term "torpor" can refer to the time a hibernator spends at low body temperature, lasting days to weeks, or it can refer to a period of low body temperature and metabolism lasting less than 24 hours.>>