Via Twitter, the Phoenix lander said, “I saw this beautiful sunrise yestersol. Bittersweet, as it means an end to midnight sun in the Martian arctic.” At Phoenix’s location above Mars arctic circle, the sun doesn’t set during the peak of summer in the northern hemisphere. If you recall, Phoenix took a montage of images of the non-setting sun last month.
But now, the period of maximum solar energy is past. On Sol 86, or the 86th Martian day after Phoenix landed, the sun set fully behind a slight rise to the north for about a half hour. This red-filter image taken by the lander’s Surface Stereo Imager, shows the sun rising on the morning of sol 90, Aug. 25, 2008, the last day of the Phoenix nominal mission.
The image was taken at 51 minutes past midnight local solar time during the slow sunrise that followed a 75 minute “night.” The skylight in the image is light scattered off atmospheric dust particles and ice crystals.
The folks over at Unmanned Spaceflight created a color poster of the sunrise in honor of Phoenix’s 90th sol on Mars:
Download your very own large or medium size poster.
Phoenix will continue working for another month on Mars, through September 30. It seems there’s many people out there hoping for another short mission extension — for as long as the carbon dioxide ice stays away!
Source: Phoenix News