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Mars NASA Space Science

Amateur Astronomer Spots Strange Cloud Formations On Mars 62

techfun89 writes "Mars has returned to our evening skies as it does every two years. This time it is getting even more attention and buzz than it normally would. Amateur astronomer Wayne Jaeschke of West Chester Pennsylvania noticed an unusual protrusion in the planet's southern hemisphere, preceding the sunrise terminator. Several things may have contributed to this strange 'cloud formation.' One possibility is a meteoric impact event, where dust was spewed up into the atmosphere. Another could be a major dust storm, which are typical on Mars. Of course, it could be something more mundane; that these observations were caused by a mere optical illusion via a type of glint that occurred due to having just the right combination of lighting and atmospheric conditions. Some suggest volcanic activity, though this is unlikely given it has been 20 to 200 million years since lava has flowed on Mars."
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Amateur Astronomer Spots Strange Cloud Formations On Mars

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  • by EmagGeek ( 574360 ) <(gterich) (at) (> on Sunday March 25, 2012 @11:04AM (#39466187) Journal

    The linked article is fairly contradictory on several points. The glaring one is this:

    " It was first seen on the evening of March 20th. Jaeschke alerted the international Mars observing community about the odd "extension" at 190.5Â east, 43.7Â south, just before the area that rotates into daylight. The odd feature was visible in all color-filtered exposures from near-infrared to blue light. Jaeschke produced the animation below.

    The feature was also reportedly captured by other amateur astronomers over the past few nights. Some astronomers in Europe have seen it as far back as March 12th."

    So, it was NOT first seen on the 20th, but rather on the 12th in Europe, and the guy in West Chester is not the discoverer of it.

  • by techno-vampire ( 666512 ) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @12:22PM (#39466705) Homepage
    Once somethng new's been discovered, astronmers take another look at recent observations to see if they found it too. It's not at all uncommon to find images of it in photos taken before the official discovery. The discoverer isn't the first person to see it but the first person to recognize it as something new and report it.

If it's not in the computer, it doesn't exist.