Martian Haze
Martian Haze
ESP_056411_2000  Science Theme: Aeolian Processes
A massive, planet-encircling dust storm occurred on Mars during the summer of 2018, resulting in many images where the surface could not be seen due to the dust. This is a problem for HiRISE but also gives us an exciting opportunity to see how the dust storm changed the surface.

We acquired this image as the storm was just starting to end and shows a region of dark sand dunes. The surface is only barely visible. However, taking images like this will let us see the effects of the storm as soon as possible. Despite the murk, some surface features are visible.

The cutout shows a comparison between this image and ESP_044240_2000, which covered the same spot in 2016. The old image shows a dark sand dune with streaks where sand has slumped down the steep slope. The new image, despite the haze, shows a different pattern of streaks. Because the storm has coated everything with dust, these are probably new sand avalanches that occurred within the last few weeks.

Written by: Colin Dundas  (21 September 2018)

Acquisition date
09 August 2018

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
280.7 km (174.4 miles)

Original image scale range
56.6 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~170 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
50 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
61°, with the Sun about 29° above the horizon

Solar longitude
226.9°, Northern Autumn

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  330.4°
Black and white
map projected  non-map

Black and white
map-projected   (996MB)

Black and white
map-projected  (682MB)
non-map           (545MB)

B&W label
EDR products

Black & white is 5 km across
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’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. The HiRISE camera was built by Ball Aerospace and Technology Corporation and is operated by the University of Arizona.