1st color photo of Mars sunset shows blue sky

(Courtesy of NASA)


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MARS — Mars is famous for being red, but its sunsets are blue.

The Mars rover Curiosity captured its first-ever color picture of a sunset April 15, the 956th Martian day of its mission, according to NASA. The image was released by the agency Friday.

“Dust in the Martian atmosphere has fine particles that permit blue light to penetrate the atmosphere more efficiently than longer-wavelength colors,” a statement from NASA reads.

“That causes the blue colors in the mixed light coming from the sun to stay closer to sun's part of the sky, compared to the wider scattering of yellow and red colors,” they continued. “The effect is most pronounced near sunset, when light from the sun passes through a longer path in the atmosphere than it does at mid-day.”

The image was captured by the rover’s Mast Camera, which “sees color very similarly to what human eyes see, although it is actually a little less sensitive to blue than people are,” according to NASA. The rover captured the image, which was white-balanced, in between dust storms.

Photo credit: NASA

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Natalie Crofts

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