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NASA Ruins Martian Rainbow for Everyone

A couple of days ago, NASA published a photo showing the Ingenuity helicopter sitting alone in the middle of the Martian nowhere, after it dropped the final 4 inches (101 mm) and separated from Perseverance. Not everyone noticed the fact there was something peculiar about the pic.
Here's the Martian "rainbow" 1 photo
In the upper left corner, something that looks like a rainbow seems to arch in the distance over the reddish soil. The ones that caught it quickly jumped on the speculation train, trying to find an explanation for the apparition.

The chatter prompted the American space agency to issue a formal description for the phenomenon. One that kind of ruined the idea of a Martian rainbow for everybody.

What you see in the photo from Mars is something pretty much all of us experienced at one point as we were trying to take a photo. It is called lens flare, a phenomenon that happens when a light source is much brighter than the rest of the scene sitting in front of the camera. That source can be either within the camera’s view angle or outside it, but still hitting the front of the lens—the latter explanation seems to fit what we have here.

NASA does not say what that light source is, but there’s only one that can cause such an effect on Mars: the Sun.

For rainbows to form, several conditions must be met. First, there must be water droplets in the air, and that can only be achieved when the temperatures are just right. Then, the sunlight must hit said water droplet at just the right angle to get bent and separated into its wavelengths, which we perceive as colors.

Mars lacks significant amounts of water in the atmosphere, and the air is too cold to allow liquid droplets, making the formation of rainbows impossible.


 
 
 
 
 

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