Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

August 14, 1998

The Dunes Of Mars
Credit: Mars Global Surveyor Project, MSSS, JPL, NASA

Explanation: The North Pole of Mars is ringed by a "sea of sand dunes". For Mars' Northern Hemisphere, Spring began in mid July and increased sunlight is now shrinking the polar cap revealing the wind-swept dunes to the cameras onboard the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft. North is up in this recently released close-up which covers a region about 1.2 miles across at 77 degrees Northern Martian Latitude. These dunes have been formed by winds generally blowing from the Southwest and are still covered with scattered white patches of carbon dioxide frost. Near the end of January 1999 Summer will begin and offer even clearer views of Northern dunes of Mars.

Tomorrow's picture: The Perseus Cluster

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
&: Michigan Tech. U.