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Martian atmosphere release energy in the form of photons.
As the month ends and a new week begins, it's time chase down the "Magnificent Machholz" again as it heads to the far north. Our European friends are in for a treat as the Moon occults Antares on February 4! Feeling "trapped" by winter weather? Then enjoy your captivity as we utilize early dark skies to delve deeper into all the secrets of the Great Orion Nebula complex - including the holy of holies - the "Trapezium"! There are plenty of fun astronomy facts as well as some unique things to observe for all skill levels, so turn your eyes to the skies...
Because here's what's up!
The European Space Agency's Mars Express spacecraft has discovered that Mars' atmosphere glows during the night. The discovery was made using the spacecraft's SPICAM instrument, which is designed to study the chemicals in Mars' atmosphere and ionosphere. This nightglow occurs because atoms combining to form molecules in the Martian atmosphere release energy in the form of photons. A similar nightglow had been discovered on Venus, and give scientists an insight into the kinds of chemical reactions that are going on, and refining atmospheric circulation models.
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