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Extremely elongated cloud spotted over extinct Martian volcano

Astronomers recently observed a strange white cloud has once again formed above an extinct Martian volcano.

It has been spotted so many times in the past over the Arsia Mons volcano that this time, scientists were waiting for it to happen. The cloud has been named Arsia Mons Elongated Cloud (AMEC).

The picture of the event was captured by the Visual Monitoring Camera (VMC) on the Mars Express probe on July 17 and July 19.




This camera is used to keep an eye on the red planet and the spacecraft with which it is attached has been in orbit for the past 16 years. Mars Express Mission is being run by the European Space Agency (ESA).

“This elongated cloud forms every Martian year during this season around the southern solstice, and repeats for 80 days or even more, following a rapid daily cycle,” said physicist Jorge Hernandez-Bernal, from the University of the Basque Country in Spain.

It’s believed that the cloud is formed when dense air near Mars’ surface is forced uphill.



At that height, the temperature dips and the moisture condenses around dust particles. However, scientists say that the fog trail is not created by the volcano.

It is reportedly said that the cloud can stretch out to about 1,800 kilometres.

Planetary scientist Eleni Ravanis, who is working on the Mars Express mission, said that the cloud can’t be observed if the camera only has a narrow field of view or someone views it only in the afternoon.