Santa Claus Craters
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Santa Claus Craters
PSP_006271_2210  Science Theme: Aeolian Processes


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These unusual craters were spotted in Arcadia Planitia, which is part of an extensive region of Mars blanketed by a thick layer of bright dust.

Light southeasterly winds during southern spring and summer blow the dust towards the northwest (top left of the picture in the cutout above). The dust is trapped temporarily in the lee of crater rims, both inside the craters and along the outside rims where they form streamers that resemble St. Nick’s beard.
Written by: Paul Geissler  (19 December 2007)

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Acquisition date
28 November 2007

Local Mars time:

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Range to target site
291.5 km (182.2 miles)

Original image scale range
29.2 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~87 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle:

Phase angle:

Solar incidence angle
52°, with the Sun about 38° above the horizon

Solar longitude
354.2°, Northern Winter

North azimuth:

Sub-solar azimuth:
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IRB color
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Merged IRB
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Merged RGB
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Black and white
map-projected   (2396MB)

IRB color
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Black and white
map-projected  (1400MB)
non-map           (1199MB)

IRB color
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non-map           (774MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (650MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (628MB)

RGB color
non map           (850MB)
B&W label
Color label
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Merged RGB label
EDR products

IRB: infrared-red-blue
RGB: red-green-blue
About color products (PDF)

Black & white is 5 km across; enhanced color about 1 km
For scale, use JPEG/JP2 black & white map-projected images

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:
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

For information about NASA and agency programs on the Web, visit: 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.