Dust Devils of Mars!
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Dust Devils of Mars!
ESP_013545_1110  Science Theme: Polar Geology
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A subimage of this observation shows a dust devil in action.

The swirling vortex of dust is visible near the center of the image. The shadow cast by this column of dust can be seen in the upper-left while the dark track left by the passage of the dust devil is evident in the lower-right.

Dust devils on Mars form the same way that they do on Earth. The ground heats up during the daytime, warming the air immediately above the surface. This hot layer of air rises and the cooler air above falls, creating vertical convection cells. A horizontal gust of wind will cause the convection cells to rotate, resulting in a dust devil.

As the dust devil moves across the surface of Mars, it can pick up and disturb loose dust leaving behind a darker track.

Note: The subimage is non-map projected, while the above image is oriented as the observation is (see table below).

Written by: Mindi Searls   (12 August 2009)

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Acquisition date:16 June 2009 Local Mars time: 3:07 PM
Latitude (centered):-68.603° Longitude (East):11.428°
Range to target site:252.1 km (157.6 miles)Original image scale range:from 25.2 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) to 50.4 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning)
Map projected scale:25 cm/pixelMap projection:Polarstereographic
Emission angle:4.6° Phase angle:49.4°
Solar incidence angle:53°, with the Sun about 37° above the horizon Solar longitude:286.5°, Northern Winter
For non-map projected products:
North azimuth:100° Sub-solar azimuth:41.2°
For map-projected products
North azimuth:281.4°Sub solar azimuth:224.3°

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All of the images produced by HiRISE and accessible on this site are within the public domain: there are no restrictions on their usage by anyone in the public, including news or science organizations. We do ask for a credit line where possible: Image: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
For information about NASA and agency programs on the Web, visit: http://www.nasa.gov. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems is the prime contractor for the project and built the spacecraft. The HiRISE camera was built by Ball Aerospace and Technology Corporation and is operated by the University of Arizona. The image data were processed using the U.S. Geological Survey’s ISIS3 software.