February 7th Was the Start of a New Year on Mars – Universe Today

Pleased New Yr – from Mars.  It’s all the time thoughts increasing to consider the passage of time from different perspectives than those we’re most acquainted with.  So let’s have fun that our barely colder crimson cousin accomplished one other across the solar.  The 36th Martian 12 months started on February seventh, with a noticeable lack of fireworks or individuals singing Auld Lang Syne.  

Regardless of the shortage of festivities on the planet’s floor (perhaps may play Auld Lang Syne to itself?), the planet’s associates at ESA put collectively a bulleted listing of some enjoyable details in regards to the Martian 12 months.  Listed here are some highlights.

Series of images of Mars while it is in opposition to the Earth about once every two Earth years.
Each 26 months Mars is reverse the Solar in our nighttime sky. Since 1995, Mars has been at such an “opposition” with the Solar seven instances. A colour composite from every of the seven Hubble opposition observations has been assembled on this mosaic to showcase the wonder and splendor that’s The Pink Planet. This mosaic of all seven globes of Mars reveals relative variations within the obvious angular dimension of Mars through the years. Mars was the closest in 2003 when it got here inside 56 million kilometers of Earth. The a part of Mars that’s tilted in the direction of the Earth additionally shifts over time, ensuing within the altering visibility of the polar caps. Clouds and dirt storms, in addition to the scale of the ice caps, can change the looks of Mars on time scales of days, weeks, and months. Different options of Mars, corresponding to a number of the giant darkish markings, have remained unchanged for hundreds of years.
Credit score: NASA/ESA

Yr 36 may appear slightly younger, based mostly on the truth that the planet is just a few billion years outdated.  That’s as a result of people, with our anthropomorphic inclinations, determined arbitrarily to begin counting Martian years within the human 12 months 1955.  Annually takes about 687 Earth days, main us to the 36th Martian 12 months this month. 

An vital query is at what level in Mars’ spin across the solar does its 12 months truly begin?  Astronomers have determined that the northern equinox marks the beginning of a brand new Martian 12 months.  This level is the start of spring within the northern hemisphere and autumn within the southern.  That not less than makes extra sense than the arbitrary date barely after the start of winter that our species has picked for not less than most of Earth’s western hemisphere to start a brand new 12 months.

UT video discussing Martian climate and the way the environment may very well be rebuilt.

The selection of that date is perhaps partly because of one other enjoyable truth about Mars’ 12 months – it’s seasons aren’t all the identical size.   Mars has a extremely elliptical orbit in comparison with Earth, which means that its northern hemisphere’s spring (194 days) is for much longer than its autumn (142 days).  This path has predictably giant impacts on the climate of the crimson planet. Will increase in luminosity when the solar is nearer (throughout the southern hemisphere’s summer time and spring) trigger giant mud storms that blanket the planet nearly yearly, corresponding to in Martian Yr 1 with the aptly “nice mud storm of 1956”.  

These mud storms aren’t the one annual climate occasions although – one other attention-grabbing one is the Arsia Mons Elongated Cloud, an 1800 km cloud of ice crystals which pops up for not less than 80 Martian days (“sols”) a 12 months after which disappears.  Like many different options of Mars, it goes to indicate how the planet is dynamic and altering, regardless of showing to be only a ball of rock with barely any environment.

Image of Arsia Mons Elongated cloud, which shows up annually on Mars.
Picture of the Arsia Mons Elongated Cloud – a cloud of ice particles 1800 km lengthy that seems yearly on Mars.
Credit score: ESA/GCP/UPV/EHU Bilbao

As we study extra about our generally nearest neighbor, we’ll undoubtedly discover extra annual phenomena that happen there.  However even now we will admire that point passes otherwise relying on the way you have a look at it.  If nothing else, you may inform your coworkers that you simply’re solely 53% of your Earth age on Mars not less than.

Be taught extra :
ESA: Happy New Year on Mars
UT: How Long is a Year on Mars?
UT: Mars Rotation
ScienceAlert: Happy New Year, Mars. Here’s Why It’s Such a Crucial Week

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