What is this curious cloud on Mars?

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posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 04:31 PM
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An amateur astronomer in West Chester, Penn. took a picture of a curious Martian cloud several nights ago that has the community of Mars observers abuzz. Wayne Jaeschke photographed Mars on the evening of March 19 with a 14-inch telescope and noticed the plume after processing his images.




Here's what the amateur astronomer said about it:


Here’s a stumper for any Mars experts. While processing my Mars images from last night, I found a strange feature over Acidalia (top left of the animation below). I made this 5-frame animation of the green-light images. The feature appears in all the channels, but is most visible in blue and green and least visible in IR. Also, it moves with the planet (ruling out dust motes on the sensor) and seems to rise over the limb. Fog rolled in after this, so there is no additional data later than this. If anyone caught Mars after 2:15UT last night, please check your images… particularly after 2:51UT.




Source

Once word got out, confirmation of the cloud came in from other amateur astronomers who had photographed it both before and after the 19th. No one is certain of the cloud’s nature yet, but it could be made of ice crystals or perhaps even dust whirled into the Martian atmosphere. Its altitude is estimated at 60 miles or higher.

More images here
edit on 23-3-2012 by elevenaugust because: (no reason given)




posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 04:34 PM
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Throw-off from a meteorite?



posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 04:43 PM
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reply to post by elevenaugust
 


Thanks for the post...

Equally interesting is the fact that it wasnt until the first astromer spoke up,(or got the okay to??)..Only then did others start to come forward...

Very Interesting
edit on 23-3-2012 by wutz4tom because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 04:43 PM
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Ooh this is fun
Let the games begin.
Way too high to be a cloud don't you think?

I dont know enough about off planet cloud features
but Earth is pretty cloudy and I haven't seen a cloud
stick out beyond the curvature of the Earth.
Meteor strike? But I don't see any heat signature.
Like with Levy comet pieces. Strange and cool.
Wouldn't this be of interest to NASA ?
They cried when they saw Jupiter get hit.
I'm sure there's a nice Down to Mars explanation.
edit on 23-3-2012 by sealing because: info
edit on 23-3-2012 by sealing because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 04:45 PM
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A cloud feature 60 miles high could be possible for high altitude dust storms* considering Mars' lower gravity and low density atmosphere.

*or dust being blown up into the higher tiers thereof

edit on 3/23/2012 by NuminousCosmos because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 04:45 PM
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I'm going for volcanic eruption.

Enigma Agent



posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 04:52 PM
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Very cool, thanks for bringing it EA! :bows:

I was thinking meteor as well at first. Volcanism is (I would think) out of the picture, and I think EQ's are likely to be unlikely due to the geographically dead nature of Mars.
Could it be one of those cliff's collapsing (really big one)?? Combined with a huge updraft?

edit on 23-3-2012 by Qumulys because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 04:52 PM
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Meteor strike...maybe.
Dust storm...maybe.

Ice cloud...that's my vote.
blogs.discovermagazine.com...



posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 04:53 PM
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Yup, lots of volcanoes on Mars. I wonder if they're having any EQ swarms and strange sounds, too...? Does the (admitted to) equipment on Mars include microphones and seismographs?



posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 04:56 PM
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reply to post by Phage
 


Not too sure about the ice cloud idea. It seems a little too high off the planet and more localized than the example in your blog.

I'm voting meteor strike.



posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 04:56 PM
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OP Great post.

What we need now are some more scopes pointing at Mars. I wonder if there is anything up there that can get images. Looking forwards to the rest of this thread



posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 05:04 PM
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What about later photos? If it was something substantial, it's not just going to vanish after a few images, it'll linger for a while, maybe swirling around the atmosphere. Maybe it will still show up.



posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 05:06 PM
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reply to post by masqua
 

Take a look at this Hubble image. The left limb of Mars in the May 17 1997 image.
nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov...

Whatever it is, it's similar.



posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 05:11 PM
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Here's what Donald C Parker(using a 16-in (356mm SC) Newtonian) said:


When I first started processing these images,I was ready to smash my telescope because of the terminator "defect!". But thanks to Wayne's great work my scope was spared. This "cloud" on the morning limb is truly extraordinary. Evening limb orographics are never this high. This feature reminds me of the SL-9 impact plumes that were carried over the limb of Jupiter in July of 1994. Moreover,it is prominent on the red as well as the blue channel. At the risk of sounding daft,perhaps it is of impact and not meteorological origin. I agree with Roger Venable that one must take the terminator into account when determining the height of this cloud. However Mars is 98.4% illuminated now,so the terminator effect is minimal -- the cloud still has dramatic altitude. Furthermore I have never seen a cloud like this even when the Tharsis orographics are on the evening terminator during perihelic apparitions. Who said that Mars is boring this year??


Tend to agree that it is most likely caused by a meteoritic impact....

source



posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 05:20 PM
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reply to post by elevenaugust
 



i would guess maybe a volcano and mars is still active
edit on 23-3-2012 by WanderingThe3rd because: (no reason given)


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posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 05:50 PM
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I just joined the Yahoo! group that discuss the case. Here's what we can learn about this strange cloud for now:



The cloud is located at Longitude 190.5º and Latitude 43.7ºS (measured from Wayne's March 19th, 0255ut image.)





I measured the cloud on Don Parker's image and find it on the order of 250 km above the limb. That is well outside the sensible atmosphere of Mars, so it cannot be a water based cloud which tend to be no more than 10 to 15 km altitude. The only thing that makes any sense to me is either a huge volcanic eruption or an asteroid impact. The color is also dark, unlike water based clouds. Clif Ashcraft





I imaged Mars last night March 23rd between 4:30 and 6:00 UT with above seeing condition. At this point, I'm not sure yet if I detect anything limb cloud of the same place. I was tired but I will process the images tonight.
Perhaps it is settled down whatever it was? I do not believe it was the meteorological activity that took place that high in the atmosphere. It is much, much higher than Olympus Mons. Something that was being "forced" to have the clouds that shot upward. It must be some kind of volcanic-like activity. But I would leave up to the experts or even the MRO scientists.
I will post my images later on.
Frank J M


Last image:




posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 07:04 PM
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Originally posted by Phage
Meteor strike...maybe.
Dust storm...maybe.

Ice cloud...that's my vote.
blogs.discovermagazine.com...


lol beat me to it
especially the last bit

nice to see you and your avy's back to normal
edit on 23-3-2012 by DerepentLEstranger because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 08:27 PM
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I am revising my previous comment ^up there. I was under the impression that Mars was geologically dead. So I've been reading for a while and have seen estimates for Olympus Mons last erupting between 30 Million and 2 Million years ago. Which is a pretty quick volcanic time in geology timelines. So while there is some debate on the subject, it seems there's a scientific lean towards Mars having dormant volcano's rather than dead ones.

So yes, I guess it could be volcanic in nature! I'm learning!
Now, to look at some maps of Mars in that region to see what features are nearby. (Any suggestions?)

Really interesting subject, thanks again EA, I always love your gifts to ATS



posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 08:40 PM
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Ok, just took a look at google maps, here's a screengrab. What I see are some interesting volcanic features at around a similar longitude... thoughts?


Mind you, 200 km's up is quite a ways for a volcano plume to rise, so I'm still sticking with the meteor theory. (I'd doubt a comet, as surely a comet impact this size would have been spotted previously due to being far more visible).
edit on 23-3-2012 by Qumulys because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 10:33 PM
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Meteor strike my first choice and
Volcanoes my second

S & F





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