Mars ‘rainbow’ truly lens flare, NASA says

NASA has debunked hypothesis over a picture from Mars that appeared to indicate what many believed to be a “rainbow” or “dustbow.”

In a Tuesday tweet, the NASA Perseverance Mars rover account wrote that the company had seen feedback on-line questioning in regards to the vivid arc captured within the April 4 picture from the rover’s onboard Rear Left Hazard Avoidance Digicam.


“Many have requested: Is {that a} rainbow on Mars?” they mentioned. “No. Rainbows aren’t potential right here.”

“Rainbows are created by mild mirrored off of spherical water droplets, however there is not sufficient water right here to condense, and it’s too chilly for liquid water within the environment,”  they continued. “This arc is a lens flare.”

A lens flare is brought on by a non-image-forming vivid mild that shines into the lens.

Rainbows type when daylight passes by way of raindrops within the environment.

Nonetheless, whereas a rainbow is probably not potential on Mars’ skinny, dry and intensely chilly environment, The Hill famous Tuesday that in a 2015 “Ask Me Something” a NASA workforce member hinted on the prospect of “icebows” as a result of snow has been noticed on the pink planet’s poles.

Mars Perseverance Sol 43: Rear Left Hazard Avoidance Digicam (Hazcam) NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover acquired this picture of the world in again of it utilizing its onboard Rear Left Hazard Avoidance Digicam. This picture was acquired on Apr. 4, 2021 (Sol 43) on the native imply photo voltaic time of 15:17:19. Picture Credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech

However, lens flares are widespread in rover pictures.

A latest picture of the Mars Ingenuity helicopter – scheduled for its first check flight no ahead of April 11 – exhibits one other lens flare. 


One other April 4 picture captured a lens flare and a close-up shot of Perseverance’s wheel utilizing the identical digicam.

Along with photo voltaic filters on its cameras, Perseverance has sunshades on its entrance Hazard Avoidance cameras. Nonetheless, the Rear Hazcams don’t have solar visors. 

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