Green And Blue Flash On Red Planet Mars 


Mars is approaching Earth for a 15-year close encounter on July 27th. The Red Planet now outshines every object in the sky except the sun, Moon, and Venus. Mars is doing things only very luminous objects can do--like produce a green flash. Watch this video taken by Peter Rosén of Stockholm, Sweden, on July 12th:


"Mars was shining brightly in the early morning sky," he says. "At an altitude of only 6.5° above the horizon, the turbulence was extreme, sometimes splitting the planet's disc in 2 or 3 slices and displaying a green and blue flash resembling those usually seen on the sun."

That's not all. Mars is also making its own glitter paths. Last night, Alan Dyer photographed this specimen from Driftwood Beach at Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta:


A glitter path is a band of light in the water. It is caused by reflections from the troughs and crest of tiny waves. Normally, only the sun and Moon (and sometimes Venus and Jupiter) produce glitter paths. Now Mars is doing it too.
Dyer notes that Mars was "bright yellow"--a hue caused in part by the massive global dust storm in progress there. Think about it: A dust storm on another planet that you can see with your naked eye. Mars is close.
Still two weeks before closest approach, Mars is almost 3 times brighter than Sirius, the brightest star in the sky, and 30% brighter than the giant planet Jupiter. In other words, you can't miss it. Look south at midnight and remember, the best is yet to come. [sky map]

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