Inquisitiveness in Mars sunset


The sun dips to a Martian horizon in a blue-tinged sky in images sent home to Earth from NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover. Curiosity used its Mast Camera (Mastcam) to record the sunset during an evening on April 15, 2015 from the rover’s location in Gale Crater.

Mastcam sees color very similarly to what human eyes see, although it is actually a little less sensitive to blue than people are.


Dust in the Martian atmosphere has fine particles that allow blue light to penetrate the atmosphere more effectively than longer-wavelength colors. This causes the blue colors in the light coming from the sun to stay closer to sun’s part of the sky, compared to yellow and red colors as we see from earth. When light from the sun passes through a longer path in the atmosphere than it does at mid-day this type of effect occurs during sunset.

Sunsets and sunrises offer a different palette of colors than they would on Earth. The Sun only radiates the equivalent of a partly cloudy afternoon’s worth of light. That’s because Mars’ average distance from the Sun is 141.6 million miles or about half again Earth’s distance. Increased distance reduces the intensity of sunlight. Not only that, but the solar disk shrinks from the familiar 0.5° across we see from Earth to 0.35° at Mars

Earth’s sunset:


When the Sun sets or rises on Earth, it’s squashed like a melon due to atmospheric refraction. After getting compared mars sunset and earth sunset we got to know one thing that is the Sun’s shape doesn’t change. At least it’s not noticeable to the casual eye. I bet you can guess why — the air is too thin to for refraction to make much of a difference.


So we can see that sunset phenomena on Mars are different from ours because of the unique qualities of its atmosphere. In simple words, as the Sun is dropping it becomes darker and darker until it drops behind the Mountains this is because the dust on Mars becomes thicker and thicker because of the angle through the Mars atmosphere so the dust is acting like Sunglasses the lower the Sun gets the thicker the dust.

However, as the Sun sets, it should not appear as pinkish. The scattering of the redder colors to give us a blue horizon should also have the same effect for the Sun, much like a yellow horizon on earth give us a yellow solar disk. So the Martian sun should look either white or bluish-white due to selective scattering, certainly not pinkish or peach pinkish.

Samatha Bhargav

The author Samatha Bhargav

Samatha has been bought on board to help out with the creative quality stuffs of latest technology. She is an Engineer and an artist with a passion of designing and sketching. You can follow her on Facebook page

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