From NASA's Planetary Photojournal
The Hubble Space Telescope has taken the space-based observatory's sharpest views yet of the Red Planet with its Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 snapped images between April 27 and May 6,1999, when Mars was 54 million miles (87 million kilometers) from Earth. From this distance the telescope could see Martian features as small as 12 miles (19 kilometers) wide. This color composite is generated from data using three filters: blue (410 nanometers), green (502 nanometers), and red (673 nanometers).
This image is centered on the region of the planet known as Tharsis, home of the largest volcanoes in the solar system. The bright, ring-like feature just to the left of center is the volcano Olympus Mons, which is more than 340 miles (550 kilometers) across and 17 miles (27 kilometers) high. Thick deposits of fine-grained, windblown dust cover most of this hemisphere. The colors indicate that the dust is heavily oxidized ('rusted'), and millions (or perhaps billions) of years of dust storms have homogenized its composition. Prominent late afternoon clouds along the right limb of the planet can be seen.
Image Title: A Closer Hubble Encounter With Mars - Tharsis
Catalog #: PIA01590
Target Name: Mars
Spacecraft: Hubble Space Telescope
Photo credits: Steve Lee (University of Colorado), Jim Bell (Cornell University), Mike Wolff (Space Science Institute), and NASA
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Last Modified On: Monday, December 18, 2000