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The Winter 2010 issue of The Earth Scientist includes a variety of educational resources, ranging from astronomy to glaciers. Check out the other publications and classroom materials in our online store.

Exploratour - The Atmosphere of Mars

Springtime dust storms swirl at the Martian north pole. Picture take by Hubble Space Telescope in 1996.
Click on image for full size

Weather

We have presented the fact that the atmosphere of Mars is very thin with little water vapor with which to form clouds. And we looked at the temperature, the fact that it is very cold almost everywhere in the atmosphere. We will now take a look at whether there are clouds, storms, and winds in the next few pages of this tour.

Weather in the atmosphere occurs because the air is in constant motion. Clear weather occurs when the air is stable. Cloudy and murky weather occurs when the air is unstable. Some determining factors of bad weather are the temperature of the atmosphere, whether there is precipitation, whether storm fronts can travel, the occurrence of differing types of clouds, and wind. Extreme weather conditions include hurricanes, tornadoes, and thunderstorms. So far there is no evidence of severe weather on Mars, and little evidence of cloudy and murky weather patterns either.

Weather changes also occur due to changes in the season. Seasons occur because of the tilt of a planet when it revolves around the sun. The length of the Martian day (24 hours and 37 minutes) and the tilt of its axis (25 degrees) are similar to those on Earth (24 hours and 23.5 degrees), so its seasons should be similar to those of the Earth.

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Our online store includes issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist, full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science, as well as books on science education!

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ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

Even though the sleeping man is no longer on the bed, you can still see where he was lying down. The heat from his body warmed up the bed sheets which are now radiating infrared light toward your eyes....more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

All warm objects radiate in the infrared. The warmer the object, the higher the frequency and intensity of the radiation. Very hot objects give off other types of radiation in addition to infrared. Click...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

Your eye is a wonderful detector of visible light. Different frequencies of light produce different sensations in the eye which we interpret as colors. Our eyes detect light by using light sensitive components...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

Imagine you found a pair of special glasses that not only gave you telescopic vision but gave you the ability to see all forms of radiant energy. The universe in visible light contains all the familiar...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

This is a volcano on the island of Miyake in Japan. It has erupted, sending hot lava and ash into the air, a total of ten times. The time after one eruption until the next occurred was about twenty years...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

The awesome power of a giant black hole was revealed by looking at this galaxy in three different types of light. The picture that you see is of Centaurus A, a very peculiar galaxy. A galaxy is just a...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

This is a plant in Gary, Indiana where power is made. We use power to run things like television sets, radios, lights, and microwave ovens. The picture looks very strange because it was taken in infrared....more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF