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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


We have presented the fact that the atmosphere of Mars has very little water vapor so clouds don't form very easily. And we looked at the temperature, the fact that it is very cold almost everywhere in the atmosphere.

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.

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 fun classroom activities for you and your students. Issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist are also full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science!

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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 (not just people) radiate in the infrared. Warmer objects give off more infrared radiation. Very hot objects radiate other types of light in addition to infrared. Click on the picture...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

This is a picture of a galaxy in visible light. A galaxy is a large number of stars, some like our sun, some bigger, some smaller and all moving together through space. This galaxy is called Centaurus...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