This new timelapse lets you experience a sunset on our neighboring planet, Mars. NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover captured the images to make this animated gif from the Gale Crater on Mars during Sol 956 – the 956th day of the rover’s activity on the Martian surface. By earthly calendars, it was Wednesday, April 15, 2015.
At the time, the planet Mercury was transiting the sun as seen from Mars. These observations were an attempt to observe Mercury passing in front of the sun, as well as to obtain a Martian sunset with Curiosity’s Mast Cameras.
The four images shown in sequence here were taken over a span of 6 minutes, 51 seconds.
This was the first sunset observed in color by Curiosity. The images come from the left-eye camera of the rover’s Mast Camera (Mastcam). The color has been calibrated and white-balanced to remove camera artifacts. Mastcam sees color very similarly to what human eyes see, although it is actually a little less sensitive to blue than people are.
Bottom line: Animated gif of a Martian sunset, April 15, 2015, acquired by the Mars Curiosity rover’s Mast Camera.
Andrew R. Brown, an avid follower of the space program, writes frequently about space topics for EarthSky. Over several years, he has also suggested observations that were carried out by imaging teams of some space missions. He has lives in Ashford, Kent, United Kingdom and works for local government, Kent County Council.