NASA photo captures strange bright light seemingly coming out of Mars

Balance

Senior Member.
From http://www.chron.com/news/strange-w...tures-strange-bright-light-coming-5382677.php


My spidey senses are tingling on this one. (Must have been a misfire) A google image search found a link to http://paranormal-news.ru/news/stolb_sveta_nochju_na_marse/2014-04-07-8815 a UFO/Alien orientated russian site AFAICT. I certainly didn't find a nasa link, as the original article claims it came from.

I also suspect a photo-shop of an original landscape photo but am not experienced enough to find it
 
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Trailspotter

Senior Member.
A google image search found a link to http://paranormal-news.ru/news/stolb_sveta_nochju_na_marse/2014-04-07-8815 a UFO/Alien orientated russian site AFAICT. I certainly didn't find a nasa link, as the original article claims it came from.

I also suspect a photo-shop of an original landscape photo but am not experienced enough to find it

There is a link to the image at the NASA site in the youtube video linked from this russian site. It does contain a bright vertical dash. I do not think that it is coming from the martian surface, more likely it is a kind of imaging artefact.
 

Pete Tar

Senior Member.
I've been reading the thread on ATS about it - most likely it is a cosmic ray hitting the sensor. This is one half of a stereo set-up, the flash does not appear in the other which would have been taken at the same time.

(not sure on policy of posting material from other forums, but here's the main points anyway)

Credit to ATS user Ananake for this gif.

Credit to ATS user zetnom for this set comparing a known cosmic ray strike to the mars photo.



The cosmic ray theory is facing some baffling resistance from the thread poster however.
http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread1006540/pg7&mem=
 

Trailspotter

Senior Member.
This is one half of a stereo set-up, the flash does not appear in the other which would have been taken at the same time.

I've made a stereo image from the two halves; the base of the "flash" sits at the elevated ground (edge of a crater?) that seems to be not far away from the camera, as one may assume by looking at a single 2D image. In principle, it would be possible to calculate the distance to the "flash" from the distance between the left and right navigation cameras of "Curiosity". Where could one find these measurements?
 
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
From the raw image enlarged without filtering.


The vertical row and symmetrical nature of the "flash" make some kind of sensor glitch seem likely. It seems more like a single pixel that has overflowed.

Some kind of meteorite impact would be pretty cool though.
 

Pete Tar

Senior Member.
Well I guess that does actually make a cosmic ray unlikely, being the same effect was seen the day before in a very similar position.
 

Pete Tar

Senior Member.
A useful gif from ATS user Blue Shift.

It may turn out the OP of that thread was right to deny the cosmic ray theory, but certainly not in the way they reasoned against it.
eg...

Although mastcam is a different camera from the stereo navigation cameras, I doubt the stereo nav cams have some technology that makes them immune to cosmic ray strikes that mastcam doesn't.
 
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Jason

Senior Member
I think the team leader from JPL says it best;
and I also think its just sun light reflecting off of a rock.
 

cosmic

Senior Member.
Over the last decade, I've been repeatedly disheartened by the fact that "ordinary" pictures sent back from Mars apparently aren't interesting enough.

entertained.gif
 

Jason

Senior Member
this guy found another glint from the cam, but im not really sure what it means ; ) http://www.unmannedspaceflight.com/index.php?showtopic=7825&view=findpost&p=208735
I think it means, as also noted by a team leader associated with the mission, that these "glints" aren't all that uncommon on the surface of mars due to reflections or cosmic rays. I don't understand the Cosmic Ray "theory" because they probably wouldn't be detectable from a camera like the ones being used for these photos. The cosmic ray would appear on the lens, not in the distance. Cosmic says it best,
Over the last decade, I've been repeatedly disheartened by the fact that "ordinary" pictures sent back from Mars apparently aren't interesting enough.
 

cosmic

Senior Member.
I don't understand the Cosmic Ray "theory" because they probably wouldn't be detectable from a camera like the ones being used for these photos. The cosmic ray would appear on the lens, not in the distance.

A "cosmic ray hit" describes a portion of the camera's CCD sensor taking a direct impact from a subatomic particle, rather than a distant astronomical event being captured in the instrument's field of view.
 

Pete Tar

Senior Member.
I don't understand the Cosmic Ray "theory" because they probably wouldn't be detectable from a camera like the ones being used for these photos. The cosmic ray would appear on the lens, not in the distance.
Think about that - what difference is there between something appearing on the lens and appearing to be in the distance? In either case it's a blip on the picture. There's nothing to indicate a 3rd dimension.The idea this is in the distance is maybe due to a simple optical illusion. Try seeing it as being on the lens. (That is a bit misleading though as it's not on the lens, it's actually hitting the internal sensor.)
It's been stated that they see cosmic ray hits every week and are well used to them.
Look at this picture at ground level, apparently that is cosmic rays. They show up easier at night because of longer exposures, and they have different directions and intensities. The one in the picture in question would have just been a particularly bright one.

This is what a storm of them look like on the solar cameras.
 

Pete Tar

Senior Member.
I'm pretty sure this ifls article is getting some details wrong in the explanation.
That kind of merges the two theories with each other. The camera vent isn't an issue for the cosmic ray which can pass through the rover easily (?), but it would apply if it were an actual ray of light from the sun hitting the lens.
Can't find a reference for the navcam photo synch time, but I thought it was fractions of second, virtually in unison.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
I'm pretty sure this ifls article is getting some details wrong in the explanation.
Can't find a reference for the navcam photo synch time, but I thought it was fractions of second, virtually in unison.
if you mean do the right and left snap pics at the same time, it seems it varies. I only checked out 2 instances (by comparing time stamps). I assume the stamps are when th e pics are taken and not when they are uploaded?

 

Pete Tar

Senior Member.
Well that's a simple answer - if the timestamp represents the moment pictures are taken then they are the same for the april 3rd ones.
Nav Right B 10.00.03

Nav Left B 10.00.03
http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/multimedia/raw/?rawid=NLB_449790582EDR_F0310000NCAM00262M_&s=589
(I can't hyperlink two consecutive links, a new bug?)

But somewhat annoyingly, the quote from Maki says
which implies it's not simultaneous, but it's certainly different from 'one second after' as ifls said.
 

jonnyH

Senior Member.
A useful gif from ATS user Blue Shift.

It may turn out the OP of that thread was right to deny the cosmic ray theory, but certainly not in the way they reasoned against it.
eg...

Although mastcam is a different camera from the stereo navigation cameras, I doubt the stereo nav cams have some technology that makes them immune to cosmic ray strikes that mastcam doesn't.

Is that a contrail in the second image of the gif? on Mars?

The mountain range in the background on both images appears remarkably similar despite the different positions of the rover compared to say the variation in the mountain range seen in the gif in post 3 which is only switching between left and right navcams.
 

WeedWhacker

Senior Member
The mountain range in the background on both images appears remarkably similar despite the different positions of the rover compared to say the variation in the mountain range seen in the gif in post 3 which is only switching between left and right navcams.

For different reason. Switching between two cameras located near each other (with slightly different "aiming" orientations), versus the parallax difference from simply moving laterally a slight distance.
 

Jason

Senior Member
Think about that - what difference is there between something appearing on the lens and appearing to be in the distance? In either case it's a blip on the picture. There's nothing to indicate a 3rd dimension.The idea this is in the distance is maybe due to a simple optical illusion. Try seeing it as being on the lens. (That is a bit misleading though as it's not on the lens, it's actually hitting the internal sensor.)
It's been stated that they see cosmic ray hits every week and are well used to them.
Look at this picture at ground level, apparently that is cosmic rays. They show up easier at night because of longer exposures, and they have different directions and intensities. The one in the picture in question would have just been a particularly bright one.

This is what a storm of them look like on the solar cameras.
I get that Pete and Cosmic, but do you realize what astrophysicist have to go through to catch a cosmic ray in action. Cosmic Rays move at "almost" the speed of light, like .999999999999 times the speed of light. If you were to slow a cosmic ray down so you could collect it, which is impossible, it would like like the matter that makes up you, me and our planet.
In order for us to detect a Cosmic Ray or see one we need to build specific experiments designed to do so. Like Muon Flux, Cloud Chambers, Spark Chamber, and particle accelorators like CERN.
 
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Pete Tar

Senior Member.
Well in essence it's not a visual of the cosmic ray, but the reaction from it hitting the camera's CCD which cause it to register a light spot or streak.
So that information though correct is misleading in this case as he's talking about seeing them directly on Earth, this is an effect of their interaction on Mars. Its lower magnetic field has less effect on them, ours stops more.
(I could be wrong as I'm learning as I go, but that's what I gather)
 

Jason

Senior Member
Well in essence it's not a visual of the cosmic ray, but the reaction from it hitting the camera's CCD which cause it to register a light spot or streak.
So that information though correct is misleading in this case as he's talking about seeing them directly on Earth, this is an effect of their interaction on Mars. Its lower magnetic field has less effect on them, ours stops more.
(I could be wrong as I'm learning as I go, but that's what I gather)
But how does one catch a cosmic ray on the camera's CCD? And I'm not trying to be misleading by any means, just trying to get to the bottom of this. I honestly think its a reflections from the sun, but I could be wrong and I'm not an astrophysicist. LOL. In the article from NASA it discussed the components needed to catch a cosmic ray's flash, and I just have an issue with a camera's CCD being able to see this, and on the ground.
 

Soulfly

Banned
Banned
OT but.
Astronauts can see cosmic rays.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmic_ray_visual_phenomena

 

cosmic

Senior Member.
I get that Pete and Cosmic, but do you realize what astrophysicist have to go through to catch a cosmic ray in action.

The FAQ answer you linked is pointing out that the "streaks of light" seen in imagery are not the cosmic rays themselves giving off visible light, but it's neglecting to point out that CCD image artifacts are frequently caused by them. A bit of clarity on the author's part would have helped avoid confusion.
 

Pete Tar

Senior Member.
Is that a contrail in the second image of the gif? on Mars?

I thought it was a sun flare line but it's just from the cut and paste they did to align the two. That would be awesome though. Would there even be enough atmosphere to support a plane, if it were modified?
 

WeedWhacker

Senior Member
Would there even be enough atmosphere to support a plane, if it were modified?

Would be fun, but the atmosphere is so thin compared to Earth's, would be quite an engineering challenge. Of course, no contrails in the traditional usage, since there is virtually no water vapor to speak of.

Average (mean SL equivalent) atmospheric pressure on Mars is only about 6 millibars, compared to 1013.2mb at Sea Level, on Earth.
 

Pete Tar

Senior Member.
A slightly better explanation of the situation.
but the atmosphere is so thin compared to Earth's, would be quite an engineering challenge.



I guess flight on Mars would be heavily hover-based with downward thrust rockets of some kind.
 
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