Remarkable snaps of the Martian atmosphere portraying ultraviolet (UV) glow have been returned by Nasa's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN Mission, popularly known as the MAVEN Mission.
The images were captured by the Imaging UltraViolet Spectrograph (IUVS) on MAVEN. The first images of "nightglow" in the Martian atmosphere demonstrate the process of wind circulation at high altitudes, Nasa revealed on Tuesday.
Nightglow refers to a common planetary phenomenon in which one can observe a slight glow in the sky despite the absence any external light.
A previous mission had detected the presence of nightglow at Mars and the scientists had predicted it to be nitric oxide (NO), but it's the first time that such fine images of this amazing phenomenon has been returned by MAVEN.
Apart from this, the dayside UV images taken from the spacecraft demonstrates the formation of afternoon clouds over the enormous Martian volcanoes.
"MAVEN obtained hundreds of such images in recent months, giving some of the best high-resolution ultraviolet coverage of Mars ever obtained," stated Nick Schneider of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado Boulder.
These results will be demonstrated by Schneider at the American Astronomical Society Division for Planetary Sciences meeting at Pasadena, California on October 19. This meet is being jointly conducted along with the European Planetary Science Congress.
The MAVEN Mission commenced on November 2013 to investigate the Red Planet's upper atmosphere, ionosphere and interactions with the sun and solar wind.