Hubble's Close Encounter with Mars -- August 26, 2003

Stsci_2003-22g_1024

stsci_2003-22g August 27th, 2003

Credit: NASA, J. Bell (Cornell U.) and M. Wolff (SSI)

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope took this close-up of the red planet Mars when it was just 34,648,840 miles (55,760,220 km) away. This color image was assembled from a series of exposures taken between 6:20 p.m. and 7:12 p.m. EDT Aug. 26 with Hubble's Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2. The picture was taken just 11 hours before the planet made its closest approach to Earth in 60,000 years. Many small, dark, circular impact craters can be seen, attesting to the Hubble telescope's ability to reveal fine detail on the planet's surface. One of the most striking is the 270-mile- (450-km-) diameter Huygens crater, seen near the centerof the image. The two dominant dark swatches seen on this part of the planet are classical regions labeled by early Mars observers. The "shark-fin" shape to the right is Syrtis Major. The horizontal lane to the left is Sinus Meridani. One of NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers, named "Opportunity," will land at the western end of this region in January 2004. The picture shows that it is a relatively warm summer on Mars, as evident in the lack of water-ice clouds at mid-latitude, and the receding southern polar cap. Ice on the rugged topography gives a somewhat ragged, scalloped look. Up north, at the top of the disk where it is Martian winter, a frigid polar hood of clouds covers the northern polar cap and surrounding region. Even in the relatively balmy Southern Hemisphere, daytime highs are just above freezing in the Hellas impact basin, the circular feature near the image center. Hellas is nearly 5 miles deep (8 km). Hellas is like Death Valley -- except that Mars is much drier than even Death Valley. Having a diameter of 1,100 miles (1,760 km), Hellas was formed when an asteroid slammed into Mars billions of years ago. Many summer dust storms originate in this basin, though it is remarkably clear of dust in this Hubble image. Mars and Earth have a "close encounter" about every 26 months. These periodic encounters are due to the differences

Provider: Space Telescope Science Institute

Image Source: https://hubblesite.org/contents/news-releases/2003/news-2003-22

Curator: STScI, Baltimore, MD, USA

Image Use Policy: http://hubblesite.org/copyright/

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Image Details

Image Type
Planetary
Object Name
Mars
Subject - Solar System
Planet > Type > Terrestrial

Distance

Position Details

Position (ICRS)
RA = 22h 39m 11.2s
DEC = -15° 41’ 6.7”
Constellation
Aquarius

Color Mapping

  Telescope Spectral Band Wavelength
Blue Hubble (WFPC2) Optical (B) 410.0 nm
Green Hubble (WFPC2) Optical (V) 502.0 nm
Red Hubble (WFPC2) Optical (R) 631.0 nm
Spectrum_base
Blue
Green
Red
Stsci_2003-22g_1280
×
ID
2003-22g
Subject Category
A.1.1.1  
Subject Name
Mars
Credits
NASA, J. Bell (Cornell U.) and M. Wolff (SSI)
Release Date
2003-08-27T00:00:00
Lightyears
1.46e-4
Redshift
1.46e-4
Reference Url
https://hubblesite.org/contents/news-releases/2003/news-2003-22
Type
Planetary
Image Quality
Good
Distance Notes
Distance from Earth in miles: 86 million
Facility
Hubble, Hubble, Hubble
Instrument
WFPC2, WFPC2, WFPC2
Color Assignment
Blue, Green, Red
Band
Optical, Optical, Optical
Bandpass
B, V, R
Central Wavelength
410, 502, 631
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
Notes
Coordinate Frame
ICRS
Equinox
Reference Value
339.79652917, -15.68518611
Reference Dimension
Reference Pixel
Scale
Rotation
Coordinate System Projection:
Quality
Position
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
STScI
URL
http://hubblesite.org
Name
Space Telescope Science Institute Office of Public Outreach
Email
outreach@stsci.edu
Telephone
410-338-4444
Address
3700 San Martin Drive
City
Baltimore
State/Province
MD
Postal Code
21218
Country
USA
Rights
http://hubblesite.org/copyright/
Publisher
STScI
Publisher ID
stsci
Resource ID
STSCI-H-p0322g-f-800x800.tif
Resource URL
https://mast.stsci.edu/api/latest/Download/file?uri=mast:OPO/product/STSCI-H-p0322g-f-800x800.tif
Related Resources
http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2003/22
Metadata Date
2022-09-07T00:00
Metadata Version
1.2
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Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

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There is no distance meta data in this image.