PIA19802: Tracking Sunspots from Mars, April 2015 (Animation)
 Target Name:  Sol (our sun)
 Mission:  Mars Science Laboratory (MSL)
 Spacecraft:  Curiosity
 Instrument:  Mastcam
 Product Size:  801 x 400 pixels (w x h)
 Produced By:  Malin Space Science Systems
 Full-Res TIFF:  PIA19802.tif (320.9 kB)
 Full-Res JPEG:  PIA19802.jpg (25.3 kB)

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The sequence of six images in this animation shows sunspots as viewed by NASA's Curiosity Mars rover from April 4 to April 15, 2015 (Universal Time; April 3-15, PDT). From Mars, the rover was in position to see the opposite side of the sun from the side facing Earth during this period.

The images were taken by the right-eye camera of Curiosity's Mast Camera (Mastcam), which has a 100-millimeter telephoto lens. The view on the left of each pair in this sequence has little processing other than calibration and putting north toward the top of each frame. The view on the right of each pair has been enhanced to make sunspots more visible. The apparent granularity throughout these enhanced images is an artifact of this processing.

These sunspots seen in this sequence eventually produced two solar eruptions, one of which affected Earth.

The sun completes a rotation about once a month -- faster near its equator than near its poles. In this sequence, a cluster of sunspots in the northern hemisphere can be seen rotating toward the right, then disappearing around that side of the sun in the final few frames. As the sun continued rotating, the same cluster became visible to NASA's Earth-orbing Solar Dynamics Observatory (http://www.spaceweather.com/archive.php?view=1&day=14&month=04&year=2015).

Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego, built and operates Curiosity's Mastcam. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. For more information about Curiosity, visit http://www.nasa.gov/msl and http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl.

Image Credit:
NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/Texas A&M University

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