Astronomy Picture of the Day
April 27, 2013

More than Dunes...
More than Dunes...

Credits: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona - Credits for the additional process. and color.: Dr Paolo C. Fienga/Lunar Explorer Italia/IPF

The Dune Gullies visible in this fascinating picture, taken by the NASA - Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in the late March of the AD 2011, appear still active and, considering their location (such as an high Southern Latitude), quite anomalous. Tracking their definitive changes in shapes and dimensions will be useful to make a comparison between these Dune Gullies and the ones visible in the Southern Mid-Latitudes as well as in the North Polar Erg.

The activity (---> the changing in shape and dimension of the Dune Gullies) is thought to occur soon after the beginning of the Defrosting Period; however, the most striking aspect of this observation could actually be, more than the active Dune Gullies, the beautiful swirls of tracks left by Dust Devils which, as you know, and just like it happens on Earth, move all across the Martian Surface, lift-up and/or sweep away the Bright Dust Particles and expose the underlying Darker Material.

Mars Local Time: 15:26 (Early Afternoon)
Coord. (centered): 70,340° South Lat. and 178,199° East Long.
Spacecraft altitude: 251,0 Km (such as about 155,871 miles)
Original image scale range: 25,1 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~ 75 cm across are resolved
Map projected scale: 25 cm/pixel
Emission Angle: 6,9°
Phase Angle: 49,0°
Solar Incidence Angle: 54° (meaning that the Sun was about 36° above the Local Horizon at the time the picture was taken)
Solar Longitude: 264,0° (Northern Fall - Southern Spring)
Credits: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Additional process. and coloring: Lunar Explorer Italia

This picture (which is a NASA - Original Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter NON-Map Projected false color sub-image identified by the serial n. ESP_021899_1095_cut) has also been additionally processed and then re-colorized in Absolute Natural Colors (such as the colors that a human eye would actually perceive if someone were onboard the NASA - Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and then looked down, towards the Surface of Mars), by using an original technique created - and, in time, dramatically improved - by the Lunar Explorer Italia Team.

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