On the Look-out for Dust Devils
On the Look-out for Dust Devils
ESP_077862_1650  Science Theme: Aeolian Processes
In this image, we can see a dust devil traveling across the plains of Syria Planum. The dust devil is casting a shadow, which can be used to estimate its height. This image is part of ongoing monitoring activities by HiRISE of seasonal activities on Mars.

Over the years, HiRISE has observed many dust devils. Just like on Earth, dust devils develop when the Sun heats up the ground such that it warms the air directly above it. When air heats up its density decreases causing it to rise up while colder air sinks down driving local convection.

If the region is windy, the wind my end up rotating the “convection cells” caused by the vertical motion of air leading to development of a dust devil. Since the main requirements for development of such features are the presence of dust and a warm ground, we focus our monitoring of dust devils in regions on Mars that are known to be dusty (like Syria Planum), and during the late spring and summer time, when we expect the ground to be warm.

Written by: Mohamed Ramy El-Maarry  (5 June 2023)

Acquisition date
07 March 2023

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
252.8 km (157.1 miles)

Original image scale range
50.6 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~152 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
50 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
33.7°, Northern Spring

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  37.1°
Black and white
map projected  non-map

IRB color
map projected  non-map

Merged IRB
map projected

Merged RGB
map projected

RGB color
non-map projected

Black and white
map-projected   (264MB)

IRB color
map-projected   (154MB)

Black and white
map-projected  (122MB)
non-map           (198MB)

IRB color
map projected  (57MB)
non-map           (160MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (264MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (246MB)

RGB color
non map           (152MB)
B&W label
Color label
Merged IRB label
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’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.