Did the Perseverance rover capture a rainbow on Mars?
NASA released a stunning image of the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter on the surface of the planet as the Perseverance rover moved away from it.
But the chopper and the rover aren’t the most interesting things in the picture that caught the attention of social media users. An arc feature in the background looks very much like a rainbow. But is it a rainbow?
As millions of people around the world wanted to know more about the arc, NASA shared a brief explanation on the Twitter account of Perseverance Mars Rover.
The space agency shared a clearer picture of the art and said it was not a rainbow but a lens flare.
“Many have asked: Is that a rainbow on Mars? No. Rainbows aren’t possible here. Rainbows are created by light reflected off of round water droplets, but there isn’t enough water here to condense, and it’s too cold for liquid water in the atmosphere. This arc is a lens flare,” tweeted NASA.
The rover even responded in first-person to a social media user who wasn’t understanding the photograph.
“I have sunshades on my front Hazcams, which were considered mission-critical (I need them for driving forward & I’m usually driving forward),” it said.
“Sunshades weren’t considered essential on my back Hazcams, so you can see scattered light artifacts in their images,” it added.
A lens flare refers to a phenomenon wherein light is scattered or flared in a lens system. This usually happens through light scattered by the imaging mechanism itself.
According to experts, lenses with a large number of elements such as zooms exhibit greater lens flare, as they contain a relatively large number of interfaces.