XMM Newton view of Mars
Credit: Courtesy Dr Pedro Rodríguez Pascual, XMM-Newton SOC, VilSpa, Madrid, Spain

Martian X-ray, Take Two

The planet Mars glows in X-ray light as a result of irradiation by X-rays from the Sun. Solar X-rays hit atoms in the atmosphere of Mars (and also other planets as well) causing these atoms to glow in X-ray light. The image above, taken with the XMM-Newton X-ray observatory, shows the brightest view of Mars in X-rays. X-ray emission from Mars was originally detected by the Chandra X-ray Observatory. The study of X-ray emission from the Martian atmosphere helps scientists to understand the interrelation of planetary atmospheres and the Sun, and to understand how the chemistry of the planetary atmosphere can change over time.

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Each week the HEASARC brings you new, exciting and beautiful images from X-ray and Gamma ray astronomy. Check back each week and be sure to check out the HEAPOW archive!

Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified Friday, 20-Apr-2012 15:26:05 EDT