Is it a dust cloud from a meteorite impact, a massive storm system or just a trick of light? Amateur astronomers want to know! Now, NASA is listening.
Here's the image from Wayne Jaeschke:
Amateur astronomer Wayne Jaeschke reports on his website spotting the puzzling cloud.
"Here's a stumper for any Mars experts. While processing my Mars images from last night, I found a strange feature over Acidalia (top right of the animation below). I made this 5-frame animation of the green-light images...Also, it moves with the planet (ruling out dust motes on the sensor) and seems to rise over the limb. Fog rolled in after this, so there is no additional data later than this. If anyone caught Mars after 2:15UT last night, please check your images… particularly after 2:51UT.
Update Note: for those of you Mars geographers, the most appropriate geographic location to cite for where the feature resides is Terra Cimmerium. Acidalia was where I thought it was at first glance, but the measured location is 190 degrees by 43 degrees (South) placing over Terra Cimmerium."
Now, the professional community is taking note. NASA's Mars Odyssey, operated by Arizona State University, will now take a look at the cloud.
Reading from various sites online, it appears astronomers are quite sure this is some type of temporary formation, since it is already shrinking in size.
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