Looks like a sunset with Uranium? One of the ways to see the true beauty of the world to watch as the Sun slowly sets in the West, coloring the sky in different colors. Now imagine that you see the same sunset on Saturn, Venus or Mars. Thanks to scientist-planetary scientist from NASA this experience that seems possible only in the imagination, almost became a reality. Geronimo Villanueva, a planetary scientist from space flight Center name Goddard NASA in Greenbelt, Maryland, created the sunset simulator, which shows what it looks like going beyond the horizon the Sun to the surface of the red planet, the rings of the gas giant and other planets of the Solar system. Well, shall we go?
As the Sun illuminates the planet
Villanueva shows how it will look when the Earth, Mars, Venus, Uranus and Titan – the largest moon of Saturn, will turn away from the light of the Sun and the brightness of the stars disappear in the distance. Sunsets look different on each planet results from the interaction of sunlight with the atmosphere of the planet. Sunlight scatters from molecules in the atmosphere. This process of scattering also known as Rayleigh scattering, is more effective at shorter wavelengths, which are blue end of the visible spectrum, or a part of electromagnetic radiation that can be seen by the human eye.
That’s why sunlight, which is dissipated to the Earth is mostly blue, with the result that the daytime sky is blue. Computer simulation also shows the difference in the color of the sky during sunset on Earth in an ordinary clear day, foggy day and a cloudy day. On Uranus the sun’s light interacts with hydrogen, helium and methane contained in the atmosphere which absorb long-wave red part of the light. As a result, the sunset on the Uranium – rich Prussian blue, which gradually turns to a Royal blue color with hints of turquoise, according to NASA’s official press release.
On the other hand, the sunset on Mars is transformed from a brownish to a bluish tint as a result of dust in the Martian atmosphere, which effectively scatters blue. The above video shows various sunsets side by side, and the white dot represents the position of the Sun, when it sets on this planet.
Villanueva created a simulator sunset, developing a tool for a possible future mission to study the atmosphere of Uranus. The CAE tool designed to help scientists to interpret the measurements of light in other worlds, in order to identify the chemical composition of their atmospheres. Similarly, in 2014, researchers working with data from NASA mission Cassini imagined how it will look like a sunset on Titan, shrouded by haze and smog surrounding the moon. These data should help researchers to study exoplanets with hazy skies and better understand the composition of their atmosphere.
Sunset on extrasolar planets
The Saga of Star wars begins with the sunset on Tatooine, the planet with two suns. More than 40 years after the release of this movie we know that it is likely there somewhere like Tatooine exoplanet. Fortunately, now we can see planets orbiting our and other suns. Moreover, new simulation NASA color reflects not only the composition of the atmosphere of every planet, but the effect arising from the movement of the Sun to the horizon due to the rotation of the planets.