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NASA Shows Us a Blue Sunset on Mars

Stashed in: Mars!, NASA, Space!, @nerdist

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It looks nothing like a sunset does on Earth.

On Earth, incoming sunlight is scattered in all directions by the gases and particles in our atmosphere. The blue light is scattered more than other colors because it travels on a shorter wavelength, so we see a blue sky. When the Sun is low on the horizon around sunrise or sunset, the sunlight is passing through more atmosphere to your eyes. This means more of the blue light is scattered, allowing some of the longer wavelength blue and yellow hues to escape and reach your eyes, accounting for the amazing array of warm colors.

The same thing happens on Mars, but because the atmospheric composition is different, light scatters differently to give the Martian sky its characteristic red hue. The dusty particles and gases in Mars’ carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere scatter the sunlight reaching the planet such that the blue light is almost completely eliminated and the longer, reddish wavelengths survive to be seen.

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