Here’s something fascinating and puzzling, maybe WUWT readers can help figure this one out. There’s also a neat flipbook animation below the read more line.
Wayne Jaeschke writes:
Here’s a stumper for any Mars experts. While processing my Mars images from last night, I found a strange feature over Acidalia (top right of the animation below). I made this 5-frame animation of the green-light images. The feature appears in all the channels, but is most visible in blue and green and least visible in IR. Also, it moves with the planet (ruling out dust motes on the sensor) and seems to rise over the limb. Fog rolled in after this, so there is no additional data later than this. If anyone caught Mars after 2:15UT last night, please check your images… particularly after 2:51UT.
Update Note: for those of you Mars geographers, the most appropriate geographic location to cite for where the feature resides is Terra Cimmerium. Acidalia was where I thought it was at first glance, but the measured location is 190 degrees by 43 degrees (South) placing over Terra Cimmerium.
My thought is some sort of volcanic eruption, as that would be the only thing I could think of that would make an elongated plume that high…but this seems to be even too high for that, but then again Mars has the tallest volcano in the solar system, Olympus Mons, at 22 km (14 mi) high. If it were volcanic, it would be a first. According to Wikipedia: [Astronomers] have never recorded an active volcano eruption on the surface of Mars; however, the European Space Agency’s Mars Express orbiter photographed lava flows that must have occurred within the past two million years, suggesting a relatively recent geologic activity.
Barring that, maybe some sort of gravity induced comet disintegration?