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Space & Astronomy

Strange 1,500km-long cloud spotted on Mars

By T.K. Randall
November 1, 2018 · Comment icon 18 comments

What could have created this cloud ? Image Credit: ESA/GCP/UPV/EHU Bilbao
ESA's Mars Express orbiter has photographed a long white cloud lingering eerily over the planet's surface.
The phenomenon, which was first spotted back in September, is situated next to Arsia Mons - a volcano - leading some to speculate that a volcanic eruption may have been taking place.

As it happens however, Arsia Mons has not been volcanically active for over 50 million years.

The answer, it turns out, is that the cloud, which is comprised of water ice, was formed from the interaction between the Martian air and the southwest slope of the volcano.
It is a phenomenon known as a 'lee cloud' owing to its formation from the volcano's leeward slope.

"The cloud's appearance varies throughout the martian day, growing in length during local morning downwind of the volcano, almost parallel to the equator, and reaching such an impressive size that could make it visible even to telescopes on Earth," ESA wrote.

Source: The Weather Channel | Comments (18)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #9 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 5 years ago
It's Just An Opinion, please don't hijack the thread, stay on topic. Thank you.
Comment icon #10 Posted by It's Just An Opinion 5 years ago
DirtyDocMartens If you had red what I said I would not have had to explain the obvious point that I made, I get the feeling you are all simply not reading everything I said because you are all too insecure of having your opinions changed or challenged. 888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888 #9 Waspie_Dwarf, I've been on topic, but to reply to someone elses comment I had to make a point to explain why I formed that opinion on their comment. If there is a rule against replying to other comments or stating your opinion abou... [More]
Comment icon #11 Posted by spud the mackem 5 years ago
Do the scientists know that it is "water ice" , or are they just assuming this, as the Mars atmosphere is thinner than ours I suggest it may be something else , 20000 k is very high and ice crystals are heavier than Mars "air", so would fall to the ground as they do on Earth, or maybe I'm wrong and Martian "air" can support ice.
Comment icon #12 Posted by It's Just An Opinion 5 years ago
I just want DirtyDocMartens to acknowledge that even if something so happened to be the blame of for say, gods, magic ect. That he would never accept it as that. because he has limited his perception on what hes willing to contemplate (the conformative opinion) and anything else wouldn't be given a second thought for being conformativly irrational because modern science can't prove it.  I want you all to acknowledge that ~That is dense. He would continue to claim it is a coincidence even if it were recurring, and he would spend his life trying to explain it scientifically until he even... [More]
Comment icon #13 Posted by Not A Rockstar 5 years ago
I was wondering something like this, myself. I was thinking, hey I wonder if there was more moisture there on Mars if that would get heavy enough to snow. Or rain? 
Comment icon #14 Posted by South Alabam 5 years ago
That's a whole lot of jabbering for an explained cloud formation.
Comment icon #15 Posted by rashore 5 years ago
That's neat, I didn't now Mars had clouds like that.
Comment icon #16 Posted by keithisco 5 years ago
As an affirmed atheist I have to say that I understand fully what you are saying and do not reject any points that you make. Science itself is often hidebound by a "religious fervour" almost insomuch as established theories cannot be challenged for fear of mockery. Counter-intuitively "Law of Physics" is almost unchallenged because "we" only have evidence that supports it and does not refute it. What is lacking in this thinking is the assumption that such Laws are immutable - which can be proven when all things end and that Law has held to be true and not before. We are as children on the sta... [More]
Comment icon #17 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 5 years ago
A reminder that this site has rules, including this one: This topic is about clouds on Mars, please remain on topic. 
Comment icon #18 Posted by keithisco 5 years ago
This topic is about a cloud on Mars...that there might be alternative theories about its genesis should be at the heart of all Scientific Endeavour...anything else is simply permitting confirmation bias to close off alternative explanations.  To the point, orographic clouds are common in an earth environment, not so on Mars so what are the differing set of environmental factors in play to produce something that has a corollary on Earth? Clearly a differing mechanism must be at play here' so what is it?

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