Pinwheel Crater at Night

Scaled Image

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/ASU

About this image

Infrared images taken during the nighttime exhibit only the thermophysical properties of the surface of Mars. The effect of sun-facing versus non-sun-facing energy dissipates quickly at night. Thermophysical effects dominate as different surfaces cool at different rates through the nighttime hours. Rocks cool slowly, and are therefore relatively bright at night (remember that rocks are dark during the day). Dust and other fine grained materials cool very quickly and are dark in nighttime infrared images. This nighttime IR image was collected September 28, 2002 during the northern spring season. The 'pinwheel' pattern represents alternating warm and cool materials.

Please see the THEMIS Data Citation Note for details on crediting THEMIS images. 


Image ID: 
I03492030 (View data in Mars Image Explorer)
2002-09-27 18:24
Mon, 2004-03-15
320 pixels (34 km)
272 pixels (26 km)
0.098578 km/pixel
0.108657 km/pixel


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